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Called by 





Joint Chairmen 

Negro Housing 

Report of the 


Prepared -for the Committee 


Edited by 



Acknoivledgment is made to the Secretary of the Committee on 
Negro Housing, Charles S. Johnson, for preliminary editing and 
frequent help in the preparation of this final report for publication. 
Acknowledgment is likewise made to Dan H. Wheeler for the 
detailed work of preparing this volume for the press and to Marion 
E. Hall for assistance in that work and for the preparation of 
the Index. 






President, National Training School for Women and Girls, 

Washington, D. C. 

George R. Arthur, Associate for Ne- 
gro Welfare, Julius Rosenwald 
Fund, Chicago, Illinois. 

L. T. Burbridge, President, Louisiana 
Industrial Life Insurance Company, 
New Orleans, Louisiana. 

Joseph S. Clark, President, Southern 
University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

Mrs. Irene M. Gaines, Vice Chairman, 
Executive Board of Illinois Asso- 
ciation of Colored Women, Chicago, 

Mrs. Lena Trent Gordon, Special In- 
vestigator, Department of Public 
Welfare, Bureau of Legal Aid, 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Lorenzo J. Greene, Research Investi- 
gator, The Association for the 
Study of Negro Life and History, 
Inc., Washington, D. C. 

W. J. Hale, President, Tennessee 
Agricultural and Industrial State 
College, Nashville, Tennessee. 

Gordon B. Hancock, Chairman, De- 
partment of Economics and Soci- 
ology, Virginia Union University, 
Richmond, Virginia. 

Leon R. Harris, Editor, The Modern 
Farmer, Moline, Illinois. 

T. Arnold Hill, Director, Department 
of Industrial Relations, National 
Urban League, New York, New 

Robert H. Hpgan, Contractor and 
Builder, Lexington, Kentucky. 

Benjamin F. Hubert, President, Geor- 
gia State Industrial College, Indus- 
trial College, Georgia. 

Zachary T. Hubert, Former President, 
Agricultural and Normal Univer- 
sity, Langston, Oklahoma. 

Mrs. Daisy E. Lampkin, Regional 
Field Secretary, National Associa- 
tion for the Advancement of Colored 
People, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Moses McKissack, Architect, Nash- 
ville, Tennessee. 

Robert R. Moton, Principal, Tuskegee 
Normal and Industrial Institute, 
Tuskegee Institute, Alabama. 

John E. Nail, Real Estate Operator; 
Former President, Association of 
Trade and Commerce, New York, 
New York. 

Samuel W. Rutherford, Former Sec- 
retary, National Benefit Life Insur- 
ance Company, Washington, D. C. 

Miss Fannie C. Williams, President, 
The National Association of Teach- 
ers in Colored Schools, New Or- 
leans, Louisiana. 

Mrs. Florence C. Williams, State Di- 
rector of Health Education for 
Negroes, Arkansas Tuberculosis As- 
sociation, Little Rock, Arkansas. 

CHARLES S. JOHNSON, Research Secretary, 

Director, Department of Social Science, Fisk University, 

Nashville, Tennessee. 



Groups of the Committee on Negro Housing 

Group on Physical Aspects of 

Negro Housing 
Urban Section 
George R. Arthur, Chairman 
Mrs. Irene M. Gaines 
Miss Fannie C. Williams 
Rural Section 

Mrs. Florence C. Williams, 


Zachary T. Hubert 
Leon R. Harris 
Moses McKissack 

Group on Social and Economic 
.Factors in Negro Housing 
T. Arnold Hill, Chairman 
Mrs. Lena Trent Gordon 
Lorenzo J. Greene 
Gordon B. Hancock 

Group on Financing and Home 


Robert R. Moton, Chairman 
L. T. Burbridge 
Robert H. Hogan 
John E. Nail 
Samuel W. Rutherford 

Group on Negro Housing and the 


Charles S. Johnson, Chairman 
Joseph S. Clark 
Robert R. Moton 
W. J. Hale 
Mrs. Daisy E. Lampkin 

Correlating Group 

Charles S. Johnson, Chairman 

George R. Arthur 

T. Arnold Hill 

Robert R. Moton 

Mrs. Florence C. Williams 


In the housing of Negro citizens, particularly in cities, our 
philosophy of individual responsibility for shelter has proved to 
be inadequate. Consider the situation of the typical family of 
Negro migrants from the farm of the South to the great industrial 
city of the North. With habits adapted to an isolated cabin, where 
space simplified sanitary problems, water was taken from a well, 
and cooking done perhaps in a fireplace, the family shifts to the 
midst of a crowded city. Their poverty forces them, as it forces all 
immigrants, into the most deteriorated residential sections. They 
crowd in one or two rooms of a dilapidated house, share a hall 
toilet with several other families, often cook in a closet, and three 
or four may sleep in a room. The residents of the area in which 
they live pay no taxes and have no influence so the municipality 
tends to overlook their needs for utilities, and to ignore violations 
of the housing and sanitary codes. Racial as well as economic 
factors restrict them to limited areas. Consequently, additional 
immigrants increase the overcrowding. The excess of demand 
over supply permits rent profiteering. High rents and low wages 
mean that the mother must go to work and that the family must 
share its already inadequate space with lodgers, with consequent 
ill effects on family life and morals. In addition, the dilapidated 
areas into which Negroes are forced are frequently the areas of 
prostitution and crime. Under these conditions it is not to be 
wondered at that the mortality rate for Negroes is more than twice 
that for whites in the same cities. 

Perhaps the worst aspect of the entire situation is that the factor 
of racial segregation makes it exceedingly difficult for any Negro 
family, no matter what its character or aspirations, to escape 
these conditions. It is difficult for them to get into more desirable 
residential sections ; there are few new developments in accessible 
areas for Negroes; the cost of home-financing for them is fre- 
quently excessive. 

These conditions of Negro housing in our cities are not the 
result of any wilful inhumanity on the part of our society. On 
the contrary, they merely emphasize the present shortcomings of 
our individualistic theory of housing, and the failure which grows 



out of expecting each person in our highly complex industrial 
civilization to provide his own housing as best he may. The 
Negro's housing problem is part of the general problem of provid- 
ing enough housing of acceptable standards for the low-income 
groups in our society. Racial factors and the primitive housing 
conditions to which he has been accustomed, and which necessitate 
a more drastic readjustment than for other groups, contribute to 
make the Negro the worst sufferer. 

What is the solution ? It is not to attempt to do something for 
Negro housing alone. It is not to supply homes to Negroes 
through private or public charity. It is to reorganize our prac- 
tices in the planning and production of all housing. We must 
begin with the theory. The realization of community responsibility 
for housing must take the place of our present concept of in- 
dividual responsibility. The technique which the application of 
this new theory makes necessary has been formulated for the first 
time with some completeness by the President's Conference. When 
cities are planned in neighborhood units, there will be no homes 
backed up against stock yards or railroad tracks. When proper 
zoning regulations are enforced it will be impossible to crowd 
houses on land and to crowd people in houses. When minimum 
standards for housing are established and enforced in all our cities, 
and housing meeting those standards is made available for all 
people in the low-income groups by reduction in the cost of con- 
struction and home-financing, by the cooperation of private initia- 
tive and government in slum clearance and rebuilding, by exten- 
sive reconditioning and remodeling of existing dwellings, and by 
the many other means proposed by the Conference when these 
things are accomplished, the insanitary overcrowding typical of 
Negro quarters in our cities will be a thing of the past. 

In so far as the Negro is the victim of special handicaps, such 
as those arising from segregation, low wages, rent profiteering, 
and unusual difficulties of adjustment, special measures must be 
taken for him. Education training the Negro to seek and main- 
tain higher standards of housing is perhaps of primary impor- 
tance. The provision of good housing will do more than any- 
thing else to consolidate such education. 

The report of the Committee on Negro Housing is distinguished 
by its objectivity. For that reason it compels unusual attention. It 


is our duty to see that it bears fruit in action. The committee 
points out that more than forty notable surveys and investigations 
of Negro housing conditions have from time to time shocked the 
public into temporary interest, but have brought little if any per- 
manent improvement in these conditions because they were not 
followed up. That should not be the fate of this present survey. 

July 1, 1932 ROBERT P. LA MONT. 


The conditions of Negro housing and the means of their im- 
provement are an immediate and urgent personal problem for 
nearly twelve million of the American population who are Ne- 
groes. The whole population of America is in many ways affected 
by the conditions of living of Negro families as it is by the hous- 
ing problems of all other elements of our population. The health 
of the community is affected by poor sanitation endured by any 
of its citizens. The safety of the community is equally affected 
by dilapidation, needless fire risks or other dangers. Exploitation 
or injustice, wherever they may occur, exert a poisonous influence 
upon general social attitudes and ideals and may create habits of 
thought and action which spread the evil to other social groups or 
permeate the entire social fabric. 

In organizing a nation-wide Conference on Home Building and 
Home Ownership it was essential to deal directly and squarely 
with this problem. Although others of the thirty-one committees 
of the Conference touched upon Negro housing here and there in 
the course of their reports it was clear that there should be a 
special committee representing the leading thinkers among our 
twelve million Negroes and made up like the other committees of 
persons who have already devoted much attention and thought to 
the problems in question. It was fortunately possible to secure 
the services of Negro social workers, realtors, business men, uni- 
versity presidents and professors, representatives of foundations 
and others intimately concerned with one aspect or another of 
housing. The North and the South, the cities and the rural com- 
munities were represented. 

As this committee considered for our Negro population all of 
the problems covered by the thirty other committees of the Con- 
ference it was larger in its membership than the average and had 
somewhat larger funds at its disposal than most other committees 
save that on Farm and Village Housing which represented not one- 
tenth but two-fifths of our population. This final report of the 
Committee on Negro Housing is to our minds an ample justifica- 
tion of this procedure. 

To anyone familiar with the subject matter of this volume, it 
will be at once apparent that it is the most comprehensive and 


valuable document on Negro Housing that has been issued up to 
this time. The committee has sifted, analyzed and made use of 
all of the available material previously published on this subject 
and has had access to many unpublished studies in the possession 
of social service agencies and the universities. With restraint and 
fair-mindedness they have presented the facts as they find them 
and have cited their references so that the future student of the 
subject may go back to the original sources if he should have need 
to pursue the subject further. In view of the fact that the com- 
mittee had only one-half year at its disposal for the compilation 
of its report and to conduct its researches, it has presented a sur- 
prisingly well-rounded picture of the conditions of Negro housing 
in those areas in which the Negro population is relatively large. 

Further researches will doubtless be needed, for the studies 
made prior to this report and upon which it was based, have been 
sporadic and limited. Appreciating this fact the committee has 
outlined among its recommendations those studies which in its 
judgment are in need of immediate and detailed research. With 
the report of the Committee on Negro Housing as a basis and 
background, such future researches should commend themselves 
to the philanthropic foundations interested in Negro welfare and 
to the research departments in social sciences of our leading uni- 
versities and state agricultural colleges. 


June 28, 1932. 





Negro Housing as a Phase of City Growth 4 

General Characteristics of Inhabited Areas 5 

Patterns of Negro Segregation 6 

Physical Condition of Dwellings Occupied by Negroes . . 7 

Sectional Factors in Negro Housing 8 

Summary of Studies of Physical Aspects of Negro 

Housing 26 


Segregation Ordinances and Private Covenants 35 

Patterns of Legal Segregation Attempted 37 

Restrictive Compacts and Covenants 40 

Some Social Effects of Formal Efforts at Segregation. . 42 

Arguments Advanced in Support of Segregation 44 

Arguments Against Segregation 45 

Violence and Intimidation 46 

How New Sites Are Acquired 48 

Property Depreciation and Negro Residence 48 



Neighborhoods and Delinquency 52 

Mortality and Negro Housing 57 

Living Standards 58 

Some Social Implications of High Rents and Low Wages 69 

General Observations on Social and Economic Factors. . 71 


Southern Cities 85 

Home Ownership and Family Stability 86 

Individual Home Building on Small Capital 89 

General Observations on Negro Home Ownership 91 


The Elements of Risk in Financing Negro Properties ... 92 

Mortgages on Negro Property 93 

Negroes as Credit Risks 102 






Further Projects for Study on Housing 116 


Urban Surveys 119 

Rural Surveys 141 



The Problem of Delinquency and Crime 144 

The Geographical Distribution of Negro Delinquents. . . 155 

Economic Levels of Income Among Negroes 156 

Rent Levels Among Negroes in Chicago 172 

Zones of Negro Settlement 183 

Findings and Tentative Conclusions 195 


General 199 

The Causes and Results of Segregation 206 

The Negro Protests Against Ghetto Conditions 214 

Zoning 217 

Rural Segregation 224 







Housing Conditions 260 

Segregation (Residential) 266 

Better Housing Campaigns and Projects 270 


The Negro population of America, due to factors in its history, 
constitutes at present a considerable proportion of the familiar 
low-income group families and, in like manner, has in its own com- 
position a larger proportion of families of this level than is true 
of other groups of the population. In housing, the process of 
selection and segregation normally follows economic lines. If 
this were all, there would be no reason for discussing Negro hous- 
ing apart from the simple factors of economic status and selection. 
It would be understood that the same general conditions operate 
to fix the physical limits of their residence and, in so far as the 
causes are common, the remedies have no need to vary. 

Quite apart, however, from these simple economic factors are 
social and cultural factors to be reckoned with in the question of 
Negro housing which tend, on the one hand, to give greater 
intensity and permanence to their economic segregation, and, on 
the other hand, to create novel difficulties which other groups 
experience only slightly or not at all. It is for this reason, prin- 
cipally, that Negro housing is isolated for special discussion. Such 
isolation, however, has no need to include other than these specific 
problems and a measure of the extent to which they are realistically 
registered in the physical surroundings of this group, and in their 
exaggerated social consequences. 

This population, it may be conceded, is not now so essentially 
different from the American culture in size of family or require- 
ment of security, comfort, cleanliness, and beauty as to demand 
different patterns of dwellings or different measures in other of 
the essentials of living. Thus, it may be assumed that the normal 
basis for the establishment of an American home, with respect to 
location, equipment, care, and ownership, is not only acceptable 
but a requisite of that type of citizenship which is the objective of 
these inquiries. 

Many factors have combined to obscure the basic problems of 
Negro housing. Most of the studies have been made without 
reference to the pattern of the city, or the natural factors, apart 
from race, responsible for conditions. They have, almost in- 
variably, been restricted studies of deteriorated areas which ignored 



the process by which these areas were selected. The literature of 
Negro housing is virtually a literature of the slums. The fact is 
scarcely challengeable, but it has been sought, commonly and un- 
fortunately, to explain these in terms of a fixed destiny, a pro- 
pensity to depreciation, a uniform emotional adjustment to the 
setting, an ability to subsist on less than others require. 

The factors which appear to constitute Negro housing a distinct 
problem may be listed as follows : 

1. The course of selection and segregation which, almost without excep- 
tion, draws the Negro population into the most deteriorated residence sec- 
tions of the city. This is in part the process of city growth, in part economic 
selection and segregation, and in part racial selection. 

The tendency to compactness and group solidarity. This is enforced in 
part from without and in part from within. 

2. The accelerated rate of deterioration inherent in the character of 
Negro properties, due to age and use. 

3. The depreciation of property values attributed to Negro occupancy 
or proximity. This is in part economic and in part psychological. 

4. Segregation legislation designed to restrict areas of residence as a 
public measure. 

5. Restrictive compacts and covenants, designed to restrict areas of Negro 
residence as a private measure. 

6. Objection of white residents to the presence of Negroes in certain 
areas, as registered in: 

(a) Clashes, 

(b) Bombings of property, 

(c) Intimidation. 

7. Exclusion of the Negroes from new housing developments. 

8. Limitation of facilities for financing of Negro home ownership. 

9. Increased rentals with Negro occupancy. 

10. Factors related to the level of culture of the majority population of 
the Negro group, as reflected in the care of property. 

11. The relation of such physical factors as excessive congestion, and 
physical deterioration to correspondingly excessive rates of delinquency and 
mortality in Negro areas. 

The Negro population in 1930 was 11,891,143, or about 10 per 
cent of the total population. It is unevenly distributed throughout 
the United States in proportions varying from less than 1 per 
cent to as much as 50 per cent, which obtains in Mississippi. 
Four-fifths of this population resides in the South, and until re- 
cently has been predominantly rural. The movement to cities, 
however, definitely noted in 1880, has been proceeding with ac- 
celerated pace. Between 1910 and 1920 the rate of increase for 


urban centers was 32.3, while the rural areas showed an actual 
decrease of 3.3 per cent. Both southern and northern urban 
centers have felt this increase. In intersectional migration the 
tendency has been to remove from southern rural areas to north- 
ern urban centers. Cities of the North, accordingly, have shown 
increases ranging from 10 to 600 per cent. Chicago's Negro popu- 
lation in 1910 was 44,103; in 1930 it had increased to 233,903. 
Philadelphia's increased from 84,459 in 1910 to 219,599 in 1930, 
and that of New York, which has now perhaps the largest Negro 
population, from 91,709 to 327,706. 

Where the proportions of Negroes in the total population change 
in these northern cities, the accepted social balance is disturbed, 
and this carries with it very special complications. The proportion 
of Negroes in the total population of New York increased from 
1.9 in 1910 to 4.7 in 1930, in Cleveland from 1.5 to 7.9, in Phila- 
delphia from 5.5 to 11.3, and in Detroit from 1.2 to 7.7. These 
are indications of the increase and accentuation of the social prob- 
lems connected with housing for this group of the population. It 
is accepted as the task of this report to outline these problems. 

Some of the material in this volume consists of extracts from 
articles, books, and manuscripts based on studies of Negro hous- 
ing. In some instances copies of the source are rare, a single copy 
being on file in a particular library (as for example the unpub- 
lished manuscript of local communities in Chicago see footnote 
3, Appendix II, p. 145). These sources have been available to the 
committee in the preparation of its report, although they have not 
been accessible to the editors and may not be to readers of the 
report. Such questions as may arise in regard to these materials 
may, therefore, be taken up with the committee through the 
chairman, group chairmen or secretary who will be glad to extend 
such helpful advice as possible. 


Negro Housing as a Phase of City Growth 

In the normal expansion of a city there has been observed a 
fairly definite process of sifting and selection of different elements 
of the population. While the selection in its general aspects is 
economic and cultural, the realistic result approaches national and 
racial segregation. This process accounts for the existence of im- 
migrant communities, popularly referred to as Chinatown, Shanty- 
town, Jewtown, Little Italy, and "Black Belt" which takes a 
variety of descriptive names. 

"As the city grows it expands outward from its center. This radial ex- 
tension from the downtown business district toward the outskirts of the city 
is due partly to business and industrial pressure and partly to residential pull. 
Business and light manufacturing, as they develop, push out from the center 
of the city and encroach upon residence. At the same time, families are 
always responding to the appeal of more attractive residential districts, 
further and ever further removed from the center of the city." 1 

The process is a familiar one. A result of this is the virtual 
organization of the city into zones. There is a central business 
district, a zone in transition from residence to business, a zone of 
workingmen's homes, a residence zone, and a commuter's zone. 
So pronounced is this natural tendency, that city planning schemes 
have adopted the general outlines of this pattern, in their efforts 
to give stability and protection in the use of land for residence, 
business or manufacturing, according to the dominant character 
of the area. 2 

It is most important to give attention to this factor of city 

1 Burgess, Ernest W., "Residential Segregation in American Cities," 
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Novem- 
ber, 1928, Vol. 140, pp. 105-115. See also: Park, Robert E., Burgess, E. W., 

Problems in Cities, Garden City, N. Y., Doubleday, Doran and Company, 
Inc., 1928. 

2 See definition of zoning in A Zoning Primer, by the Advisory Committee 
on City Planning and Zoning, Division of Building and Housing, Depart- 
ment of Commerce, 1926. 



growth because it develops that the zone of transition, virtually in 
accordance with the laws of city growth, attracts immigrant and 
Negro populations. These are, economically, the least competent 
elements of the population, and to this inadequacy is added the 
well-nigh fixed physical limitations of the available dwellings. 
The common economic element in the situation is evident in the 
fact that the patterns of selection and segregation are in their first 
aspects similar for the lowest-income ranges of the immigrant 
groups and for Negroes. In such cities as Chicago, Cleveland, 
Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, there may be 
noted an inevitable concentration of the bulk of the population 
in a few wards. 3 

One notable difference appears between the immigrant and 
Negro populations. In the case of the former, there is the possi- 
bility of escape, with improvement in economic status, in the sec- 
ond generation, to more desirable sections of the city. In the case 
of the Negroes, who remain a distinguishable group, the factor of 
race and certain definite racial attitudes favorable to their segrega- 
tion, interpose difficulties to the breaking of the physical restric- 
tions in residence areas. In southern cities where the immigrant 
population is negligible, there is commonly a concentration of the 
Negro population in these areas of transition, occasionally with a 
scattering of the poorest elements of the native white population. 

General Characteristics of Inherited Areas 

Inasmuch as these interstitial areas represent the first residence 
sites of the city, the first important factor is the advanced age of 
the dwellings in these areas. Age carries with it the question of 
modern improvements in sanitation, the state of repair, the dis- 
proportionately large amounts necessary to sustain old and dilapi- 
dated properties, detached ownership, the lack of municipal 
attention to these sections which are usually without sufficient 
power, economic or political, to command improvements. These 
factors may be listed as common to such blighted areas : * 

8 In Cleveland, with 26 wards, there are, in a single ward, as many as 34.1 
per cent of the Negroes, 22.6 per cent of the Italians and 21.5 per cent of the 
Poles. In Chicago, 43.5 per cent of the Negroes, 25.6 per cent of the Italians 
and 12.2 per cent of the Poles are found in a single ward. 

4 Johnson, Charles S., The Negro in American Civilisation, New York, 
Henry Holt & Company, 1930. ("The Problem of Homes," pp. 206-207.) 


1. The dwellings, being no longer desirable for residence, while the land 
is potentially valuable for business, are as a rule difficult to buy. 

2. They are difficult to put or keep in repair. 

3. The area attracts few new dwellings. 

4. The dwellings are out-of-date and frequently fall within the class 
tolerated as "old law" houses, with few of the sanitary provisions required in 
new structures for the preservation of health. 

5. The dwellings were erected for purposes and family habits different 
enough from the habits and necessities of the new Negro families to intro- 
duce difficulties. For example, the intimate arrangement of the early houses 
for private families is dangerously unsuitable for the new families which 
must take lodgers into their households. Privacy is destroyed and other 
social problems introduced. 

6. Where this population is set off without influence there is a tempta- 
tion for the city government to neglect it in matters of street cleaning, 
garbage disposal, paving and police protection. Interest and available funds 
center upon the improvements in new areas. 

Although there is in the North a concentration of both im- 
migrant and Negro populations in these blighted areas, the Negro 
concentration is invariably higher, ranging from 30 to 70 per cent. 
This factor, together with similar concentration in sections of the 
South in which there are few immigrants, gives to the Negro sec- 
tions of cities an almost fixed association with blighted areas. At 
the same time the complication of social and racial factors makes 
it extremely difficult either to improve these areas or to escape 
from them completely. 

Patterns of Negro Segregation 

Wherever there is a Negro population of any size, there will 
be found some degree of concentration. However, the patterns 
of separation vary among the cities, from widely scattered clusters 
to cities in which 90 per cent of the Negro population resides 
within the limits of a contiguous area. Woofter 5 describes several 
general patterns which are more or less familiar, and which repre- 
sent approximately the dominant characteristics of the principal 

"The first group is typified by New York and Chicago, where the concen- 
tration of Negroes is great and yet where it affects only a small part of the 
whole city area. In Chicago this pattern seems to be changing as the 
Negroes spread more southward. In New York, 96 per cent of the white 

5 Woofter, T. J. Jr. and Associates, Negro Problems in Cities, Garden 
City, N. Y., Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., 1928, p. 38. 


people are in concentrated white areas and 28 per cent of the colored people 
are in concentrated colored areas. 

"The second group is typified by Richmond, and includes most of the large 
southern cities where Negroes are highly concentrated in several rather 
large parts of the city and lightly scattered in others, thus leaving a large 
proportion of the white people in areas from 10 to 90 per cent Negro. In 
Richmond 53 per cent of the white people are in concentrated white areas 
and 25 per cent of the Negroes in concentrated Negro areas. 

"The third group is typified by Charleston, and is limited to the older 
southern cities and towns which have a heavy percentage of Negroes in 
their total population, and consequently a heavy scattering of Negroes 
throughout the city. In Charleston there are no enumeration districts that 
have a population less than 10 per cent colored, and none that has a popu- 
lation less than 10 per cent white, placing all members of both races in 
districts from 10 to 90 per cent colored. 

"Group four is composed of cities with light colored infusion, where the 
diffusion of Negroes affects only a very small area of the city and is some- 
what scattered within this area. In Gary, 89 per cent of the white people 
are in concentrated white areas and no Negro districts are more than 90 
per cent Negro." 

Physical Condition of Dwellings Occupied by Negroes 

The material for this section of the report has been drawn from 
studies made by agencies and institutions in various sections of the 
United States. These studies were made at different periods and 
from different angles, thus offering little that is exactly comparable. 
The circumstances under which the studies were made have, as a 
rule, been unusual. A sudden population congestion, an outburst 
of crime or sickness has frequently prompted an investigation of 
Negro housing. Moreover, these have not always been general 
studies. It is the pathology of housing that has come in most 
often for study; consequently much of the literature emphasizes 
this slant to the neglect, frequently, of such normal situations as 
may exist. 

A few students have attempted to make a distinction between 
broad types of Negro dwellings. One of the most thorough of 
these studies was that made by the Chicago Commission on Race 
Relations in 1921. 6 Dwellings were classified according to types 
from "A," which was described as the best, to "D," described as 
the poorest. About 15 per cent of the Negroes were found to be 
living in types "A" and "B," while the remaining 85 per cent 

6 The Chicago Commission on Race Relations, The Negro in Chicago, 
Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1922. 


lived in types "C" and "D." These latter dwellings were located 
in the areas of heaviest concentration, and were the familiar in- 
herited properties in and near blighted areas. More than half of 
these dwellings in classes "C" and "D" lacked the necessary con- 
veniences of adequate shelter. 

The Woofter housing study observed in all cities some central 
district where the majority of Negroes lived, and that this district 
was marked by an extremely poor type of housing, municipal 
neglect, and a high population density. A table was prepared 
classifying more liberally the equipment and condition of the 
houses as A, B, C, and D. "A" class houses represented a good, 
small dwelling, adequate in size and equipment for the family 
occupying it; class "B" comprised houses lacking one major and 
two minor items; class "C" houses lacked two or more major 
or three minor items, and class "D" lacked five major items and 
might be regarded as virtually uninhabitable. His scale was ap- 
plied to 12,123 families. Of the owners, 21.7 per cent were in 
class "A" and 2.2 in class "D." Of the renters 4.0 were in class 
"A" and 18.9 in class "D." The main point of consideration is 
the fact that in the normal distribution of Negro-occupied 
dwellings, the factor of pathology actually looms large, whether 
North or South is considered. 

Sectional Factors in Negro Housing 

The differences in building costs between sections, in economic 
levels of the general populations, in municipal sanitary codes and 
public conveniences, in adoption of modern equipment into homes, 
naturally affect the Negro population. The basic social relation- 
ship of the Negroes to the general population seldom varies be- 
tween sections, although there may appear significant variations 
in the proportion of Negro homes of approved standards. In 
appraising the physical features of Negro housing, it seems best 
to treat these factors sectionally. 

Negro Housing in Northern Cities. The Negro population of 
the North in 1910 was 1,027,674. By 1920 it had increased to 
1,472,309, an increase of 43.3 per cent; and by 1930 it had grown 
to 2,409,219, a further increase of 63.6. In actual figures the 
increase of the last decade was 936,910. In view of the fact that 
the rate of increase for the entire Negro population was 13.6 and 
that natural increase in the North has been considerably lower 


than for the Negro population as a whole, it would appear that at 
least 800,000 of this number are migrants who came during the 
past ten years. The areas of Negro residence in the northern cities 
have shown a tendency toward concentration within fewer wards 
since 1880. 7 The location of these areas has seldom changed 
except by expansion, and expansion has been met with the dual 
resistance of natural boundaries and racial antipathy. Where 
these populations have been increased, there has been a lack of 
housing, with consequent congestions, unhealthful living condi- 
tions, and high rents. 8 For the new populations have moved into 
the Negro areas already established. 

The industrial centers, which have attracted the largest numbers 
of Negroes during the past fifteen years, have made no adequate 
provision for Negro workers drawn to their plants in an emer- 
gency, and conditions have frequently become so acute as to draw 
the attention of the community, sometimes to study, most often, 
however, to condemn the undesirability of the accessions. 

"Throughout the industrial centers of the North the majority of Negro 
homes are located in sections where transportation facilities are inadequate, 
or in areas where the expansion of business houses, railroads and factories 
has rendered the district undesirable for residential purposes, or else in old 
sections where the paving, lighting, street cleaning, and sanitary regulations 
are neglected." 9 

The specific process by which Negroes come into possession of 
these areas may be described as follows: The level of Negro in- 
come points him toward the sections of low-priced dwellings. 
Real estate operators and home building concerns or individuals 
find it impracticable to build new homes in deteriorated residence 
areas. From the new developments Negroes are almost uni- 
versally debarred. The available houses, thus, are limited to these 
run-down areas which, as they become less and less desirable, com- 
mand less and less rent and correspondingly lower elements of the 
white population. Few repairs are made, and eventually a point 
is reached at which it is more profitable to admit Negroes than to 

'Hoffman, Frederick L., Race Traits and Tendencies of the American 
Negro, Publications of the American Economic Association, 1896, 1st Series. 
Vol. 11, Nos. 1-3. 

8 "The Negro in Industry," Survey Report No, 5, American Management 
Association, New York, 1923. 

9 Kennedy, Louise Venable, The Negro Peasant Turns Cityward, New 
York, Columbia University Press, 1930. 


lower the rentals further. 10 Few new houses are built in the 
Negro areas. 11 The standards embodied in building ordinances 
and sanitary codes thus cannot apply to their dwellings. The 
chances for improvement are extremely rare. Property is diffi- 
cult to buy because land takes on new valuation in areas poten- 
tially useful for business. 

The forces determining location have at the same time deter- 
mined association. It is not uncommon, therefore, that these 
Negro areas have been found in juxtaposition to the old red- 
light sections, to cheap boarding houses, and to the noise and 
grime of factories and railroad yards. 

While it is true that these aspects are most acute in periods of 
sudden population expansion, the fixed conditions of Negro resi- 
dence in the cities of the North and the experience of these cities 
over the past fifteen years lead to the conclusion that all that can 
be expected are further decline and deterioration in these areas 
until they are taken over by business and the Negro population 
pushed into another cycle of the same character. 

Congestion. With but few exceptions among all of the cities 
studied, there is a chronic overcrowding in the Negro dwellings, 
when considered as a whole. Where residence areas spread slowly 
and few new houses are erected, increases in the population are 
accommodated by doubling up. The practice of taking in lodgers 
serves the double purpose of providing individuals and small fami- 
lies with a place to stay, in the absence of small apartments and 
hotels, and of providing essential assistance on the payment of 
rents. In New York City within a comparatively small area there 
were 3,314 lodgers in 2,326 apartments. This did not always in- 
clude relatives living in these families. Over half of these apart- 
ments had between 5 and 10 persons. 12 Elizabeth Hughes found 
40 per cent of the Negro and Mexican one-family households in 

10 Nearing, Scott, Black America, New York, Vanguard Press, 1929. 

11 Reid, Ira De A., The Negro Population of Albany, N. Y., New York, 
National Urban League, 1928. 

Hughes, Elizabeth A., Living Conditions for Small-Wage Earners in 
Chicago, Bureau of Social Surveys, Chicago Department of Public Welfare, 

The Negro in Detroit (Section V, "Housing"), Prepared for the Mayor's 
Interracial Committee, Detroit Bureau of Governmental Research, Inc., 
1926. (Mimeographed.) 

12 Reid, Ira De A., Twenty-four Hundred Negro Families in Harlem, New 
York, New York Urban League, 1927. 


Chicago taking in lodgers, 13 and in Columbus, Ohio, in 1928 there 
was actual overcrowding in 54 per cent of the families. 14 In 
Detroit there was an average of 2.07 lodgers in the Negro house- 
holds, and for those families with lodgers the numbers ranged 
from 1 to 27. 

Housing authorities set as the ideal use of land, about 10 fami- 
lies to an acre in outlying sections, and approximately 20 families, 
or about 70 persons, in central sections. Negro blocks are con- 
stantly found to violate this standard, for reasons over which, it 
would seem, they have little control. Woofter 15 measured the 
population density per acre in a number of cities as compared 
with the population as a whole. Negro density was twice as great 
as the total in Chicago, two-and-a-half times as great in Buffalo, 
and nearly five times as great in Philadelphia. In New York City, 
where population density is in a measure compensated by high 
buildings, the total density for the city was 223, while the Negro 
density was 336 per acre, although Negroes have comparatively 
few apartments 16 high enough to require elevators. 

The studies agree that the chief causes for this situation are 
scarcity of available houses for Negroes, and the high prices 
charged for such as could be rented or purchased. 17 It is to be 
expected that overcrowding will be most serious in high-rent 
cities. Both land and room crowding are in evidence. Old single 
houses are turned into double houses or crude apartments, as is 
quite common in Chicago and New York. With the tendency 
observed in cities recently to decrease sanitary inspection and rely 
upon complaints of tenants to bring bad conditions to light, there 
has been frequent relaxation of such requisites as a separate water 
supply and toilet for each family. These tenants are found to 
be most often ignorant of the method of making complaints, or 
fearful of dispossession if they make them. 

"Hughes, Elizabeth A., Living Conditions jor Small-Wage Earners in 
Chicago, Bureau of Social Surveys, Chicago Department of Public Welfare, 

14 Mark, Mary Louise, Negroes^ in Columbus (Ohio}, (Section on Housing 
Conditions) Department of Sociology, Ohio State University, Ohio State 
University Press, 1928. 

15 Woofter, T. J. Jr. and Associates, Negro Problems in Cities, Garden 
City, N. Y., Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., 1928. 

18 Ibid. 

"Kennedy, Louise Venable, The Negro Peasant Turns Cityward, New 
York, Columbia University Press, 1930. 


State of Repair. The general aspect of Negro housing changes 
between cities. There will be varying proportions of standard 
Negro houses scattered within and without the areas of concen- 
tration. But there is no escaping the general aspect of the bulk 
of this housing. In New York City, of a considerable group of 
houses studied, only about 22 per cent were classed as being in 
good condition. 18 The Mayor's Interracial Committee of Detroit 
in 1926 made an examination of 1,000 Negro dwellings and found, 
with respect to interior and exterior repair, about half of them 
able to meet moderate standards. 19 In Minneapolis, Harris 20 
found about 9 per cent of the buildings in good condition. Reid 
observed the "scanty equipment and poor repair" of the average 
Negro dwelling in Albany, New York, in 1928. 21 Elizabeth Hughes 
noted that Negroes and Mexicans in Chicago, of small-income 
groups, occupied the worst dwellings of all low-income groups. 22 
The feverish activity of cities, through their chambers of com- 
merce and builders, rarely touches the problem of the small-wage 
earner, and, with a few outstanding exceptions, has never touched 
the Negroes at all. 

Bernard J. Newman of the Philadelphia Housing Association 
points out that the problem of the housing of any immigrant peo- 
ple is always the housing that exists there at the time of their 
arrival. 23 In Pennsylvania there has been a housing shortage for 
small- wage earners of any color. This shortage prompts not only 
vicious rent profiteering, but unsanitary and congested occupancy. 
Racial altercations and antipathies, reacting upon special groups, 
force segregation. When there are few or no houses within their 
income level these new groups must, he maintains, then decide : 

18 Reid, Ira De A., Twenty-four Hundred Negro Families in Harlem, New 
York, New York Urban League, 1927. 

M The Negro in Detroit (Section V, "Housing"), Prepared for the Mayor's 
Interracial Committee, Detroit Bureau of Governmental Research, Inc., 1926. 

20 Harris, Abram L., The Negro Population in Minneapolis, A Study of 
Race Relations, Minneapolis, Minneapolis Urban League, 1926. 

21 Reid, Ira De A., The Negro Population of Albany, N. Y., New York, 
National Urban League, 1928. 

22 Hughes, Elizabeth A., Living Conditions for Small-Wage Earners in 
Chicago, Bureau of Social Surveys, Chicago Department of Public Welfare, 

^Newman, Bernard J., Housing of the City Negro, Whittier Center, 
Philadelphia, 1915. Paper No. 2. 

Courtesy of Better Homes in America 

Practice house for home economics students at Hampton Institute, Hamp- 
ton, Virginia, built by Negro boys of the Trade School of the Institute. 
Its purpose is to teach high standards of housing and home furnishing. 

Photograph by N. A. Berthol 

An example of the better type of apartment housing available for Negroes 

in Cincinnati. Braxton Campbell Court consists of sixteen four-room 

apartments which now rent at $30.00 per month. 

J? rC O S 

< a a o 


1. To take a dwelling larger than their needs, at a higher rental than they 
can afford and eke out the difference by letting rooms to lodgers or by 
reducing their expenditures for other essentials ; or 

2. To take houses discarded as unfit by others and make the best of the 
hazards involved; or 

3. To reduce their standard of living and occupy apartments too small to 
meet their needs ; or 

4. To give up housekeeping and go to boarding, to become lodgers them- 
selves ; or 

5. To go into temporary camps. 

One day's inspection of 63 houses in the Negro section uncovered 
90 violations of the Housing Law. There were obstructed drainage, 
disrepair, accumulation of rubbish and filth, and other nuisances. 

Such a situation, which is not uncommon in the cities of the 
North, seemed to demand a new and forceful constructive program. 
It demanded not only an adequate sanitary law but efficient in- 
spection to uncover and correct abuses and, what is most im- 
portant, the erection of more houses on a low-cost basis to rent 
to low-wage-earning groups. 

The Urban Section of the Group on Physical Aspects of Negro 
Housing, of which George R. Arthur was chairman, calls attention 
to the substantially constructed areas of Negro residence, usually 
to be found along with the types of Negro housing which have 
been more generally described. Says this group: 

"There are in each city of Negro habitation one or more sections of Negro 
residence which can be called permanent residence areas. They are located 
in the city's outskirts in the zone of workingmen's homes or in the better 
residential zone, made up chiefly by families of the middle class including 
professional groups. This area can be characterized as the area of attempted 
home ownership as over against an area chiefly composed of renters. Here 
is found a higher standard of living and a more vital community feeling than 
we find in the interstitial area. In the smaller cities we find bungalows, 
single dwellings, duplex and small apartments and in the larger cities we 
find rows of flats. These residential sections have some element of space ; 
they average three to four rooms for each family and there is usually lawn 
space around the buildings which is not found in the blighted areas and not 
so frequently found in the interstitial area. 

"In each survey made by the Urban League, there are listed one or more 
such residential sections. The conditions of these sections are varied, rang- 
ing from those outlying territories where Negroes are able to buy cheap 
land and build for themselves homes from whatever materials they can find, 
often a room or two at a time, to the modern complete apartment buildings 


and bungalows to be found in such cities as St. Louis, New York and 

"The population movement into these residential areas is a smaller one in 
all cities, a further 'invasion' into formerly restricted areas. Old lines give 
way and gradual expansion of Negro residential sections takes place." 

Rentals. Evidence is abundant that in virtually every city of 
the North, Negro tenants are required to pay not merely excessive 
rentals for the properties occupied, but a considerably higher 
amount than is paid by white families who preceded them, or who 
are living in similar properties. This is a result of the limitation 
of available dwellings for this element of the population. There 
is a serious enough problem for all low-wage-earning groups, but 
in the case of the Negroes there are restrictions within these 
limitations. In Chicago these rent increases for Negroes were 
found to range from 20 to 50 per cent. 24 Among low-income 
groups of Negroes, Mexicans, and foreign born, twice as many 
Negroes as all the others together were paying $10 per month 
per room and over, and nearly three times as many Negroes 
as native whites were required to pay $10 a month per room 
for the same types of buildings. 25 In New York City between 
1919 and 1927 the Negro rentals through one area increased nearly 
100 per cent (from $21.66 to $41.77) while average rentals in- 
creased during the same period only 10 per cent. 26 The Board of 
Health of Buffalo, after studying 1,463 Negro families in that 
city, concluded that "the rents in most cases are too high for the 
accommodations offered." 27 In the same tenements were white 
and Negro families living in similar apartments. These radical 
rental differences were noted : 27 

White families $7.00 $50.00 $26.00 $50.00 $20.00 

Negro families 25.00 45.00 55.00 70.00 28.00 

"Johnson, Charles S., The Negro in American Civilisation, New York, 
Henry Holt and Company, 1930. ("The Problem of Homes," pp. 199-233.) 

25 Hughes, Elizabeth A., Living Conditions for Small-Wage Earners in 
Chicago, Bureau of Social Surveys, Chicago Department of Public Welfare, 

28 Reid, Ira De A., Tzventy-four Hundred Negro Families in Harlem, New 
York, New York Urban League, 1927. 

"Woofter, T. J. Jr. and Associates, Negro Problems in Cities, Garden 
City, N. Y., Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., 1928, p. 127. 


Reid, again, in New York, was able to measure the rent increases 
which followed Negro occupancy in a changing zone: 

Table I. Rental Increases Following Negro Occupancy, 

New York. 



Per Cent 











































































Mr. Reid states further : 

"It is estimated that the market rent is 30 per cent higher than the rent 
which is paid by the old tenants. For three-room apartments in New York 
the market rent for December, 1925, was $30.55. Tenants who were in pos- 
session since 1919 were paying less than $20. In comparing the mean aver- 
age for three-room apartments in New York, we find that, based on the 
length of tenancy the Negro group continues to pay a much higher rent than 
any other racial group. Very few apartments are available for less than 
$10 a room. ... In the mean average rent for the more popular apart- 
ments (i. e. those of three, four and five rooms), it is found that the Negro 
pays on the average of $8 more than the average for a New York three-room 
apartment, $10 more for the four-room apartment and $7 more for the five- 
room apartment." 

Carey Batchelor of the United Neighborhood Houses studied 


groups of low-income families in New York, selecting for the 
Negro families in the comparison a group in West Harlem. He 
found the typical rental for the entire city to be $316 annually, 
and for Negroes $480. The rent per room for the city was 
$6.67 and for Negroes $9.50. 28 

In one of the old areas of Chicago where Negroes have been 
living for many years and few improvements made, the rents, 
nevertheless, had doubled between 1911 and 1931, and in some in- 
stances reached the astonishing figure of 250 per cent. 

The trend is consistent, whether in the matter of comparative 
rentals or comparative equipment for the same rental. The high 
rents for a group already handicapped in employment constitute 
a problem of considerable gravity. The situation has been signifi- 
cantly associated with the taking in of lodgers to help pay the rent. 
The prevailing custom of accepting lodgers is, in turn, given as an 
excuse for higher rentals. Whether a cause or result of high rents, 
these lodgers have brought with them a train of social problems 
ranging from physical congestion to the serious moral disturbance 
of family life itself. 

It is practically impossible under the present conditions which 
control Negro housing to escape vicious exploitation. It is re- 
ported that Judge John R. Davies of the Municipal Court in 
Harlem, the Negro section of New York, said before the Mayor's 
Committee on Rent Profiteering, "It is common for colored ten- 
ants in Harlem to pay twice as much as white tenants for the same 
apartments," and Judge Panken, before whom many Negro ten- 
ants were brought, drew out the admission from one landlord that 
he was making $10,000 a year on a $30,000 investment. 29 

Summarizing its special inquiry into rentals, the Group on 
Social and Economic Factors in Negro Housing, of which T. 
Arnold Hill was chairman, had this to say: 

"The students of Negro housing conditions, and indeed, of Negro urban 
problems in general, practically all agree that the Negro renter, at least in 
urban communities, pays more rent for what he gets than any other group 

28 What the Tenement Family Has and What It Pays for It, New York, 
United Neighborhood Houses, 1928. Unpublished. 

29 See article by Lane, Winthrop D., in The Survey, New York, March 1, 
1925, Vol. 53. 


of renters. 'The rent of Negro dwellings is a plain indication of the ex- 
ploitation of Negro neighborhoods. The rents are excessive, whether they 
are measured by the kind of house and equipment, by the relation of rents 
paid by Negroes and those paid by white people for similar quarters, by the 
steady increase in rents, by the relation of rent to the value of property, or 
by the proportion which rent forms to the family budget'. 30 

"The matter of rent is a serious problem, for shelter is one of the prime 
necessities of existence in our climate. For food and clothing and other 
necessities the Negro can shop in the open market and so is at no distinct 
or peculiar disadvantage. The same is not true for shelter, as has been inti- 
mated. Of course, exploitation in the matter of housing and high rent is not 
confined to the Negro ; that is, the Negro is not the only sufferer, but even 
when every part of the rent-paying population is suffering under unsatis- 
factory housing conditions, the Negro rent payer in the cities is likely to feel 
the most pressure. 

"What are the factors which limit the bargaining power of the Negro 
renter more strictly than of other renters? The first, of course, is the 
tendency of the community to limit its Negro population to a more or less 
well defined area or areas of residence within itself. The second is the low 
economic status of the Negro population in general, with its attendant lack 
of capital. The first factor creates a condition, the second tends to foster it. 

"The segregation of the Negro inhabitant of urban communities is a time- 
honored and well-nigh universal phenomenon of American society. From 
the slave quarters of the plantation to the typical 'Negro districts' of modern 
American cities is not a very long jump, in the minds of most people. It is 
not our purpose here to enter into a long discussion of segregation, but to 
show how segregation affects rentals. 

"On the face of it, the limitation of the supply of a commodity tends to 
raise prices, the demand remaining the same. As we have said, lodging is 
not only a commodity, it is a necessity. Segregation limits the supply of 
houses. Meanwhile the demand may be increasing, as was the case during 
the recent movement of Negroes from rural to urban communities, a fact 
that has received a great deal of attention during the past twelve years. An 
increasing demand and a very inelastic supply were responsible for over- 
crowding and high rents generally in many industrial centers during the 
period 1916-1921, but the Negro demand was demonstrably increased at a 
much higher rate than the general demand, and it is an axiom growing out of 
residential segregation that the supply of Negro housing facilities is more 
inelastic than the general supply." 

Physical Condition of Negro Housing in the South. There 

80 Headley, Madge, "Housing," (Woofter, T. J. Jr. and Associates, Negro 
Problems in Cities, Garden City, N. Y., Doubleday, Doran and Comoanv 
Inc., 1928), p. 121. 


have been few studies of Negro housing in the South, but there 
has been an increasing awareness of the situation with regard to 
the housing of small-income groups. The available data do not, 
however, lend themselves to classification in a manner comparable 
with those of other sections. Between North and South are 
notable differences in wealth, architecture, accessibility of building 
materials, and in the rates and direction of urban expansion. The 
generalizations of this section of the report are taken from such 
studies as have been made, under responsible auspices, in 
Richmond, Virginia; Louisville, Kentucky; Washington, D. C. ; 
Houston, Texas ; and Nashville, Tennessee ; and from interviews 
with social agencies and community leaders in a number of cities, 
among which were Chattanooga, New (Orleans, Houston, and 

Substantially the same cycles of property use are found in 
southern as in northern cities, and the areas characterized by Negro 
residence have taken on a distinctive and sometimes violently 
descriptive nomenclature. In Chattanooga the Tannery flats, 
erected some forty years ago by northern business men, Possum 
Town, Darktown, Onion Bottom, Blue Goose Hollow, are definitely 
Negro quarters, although there are, of course, stretches of 
dwellings in other parts of the city of varying character. Some 
of these sites, as in the case of Bush Town, 31 had a quasi-philan- 
thropic beginning. 

In New Orleans, to use one of the large southern cities as an 
example, there are many distinct areas of Negro housing in the 
city. They range from the ancient Jackson Square double tene- 
ments originally built, it is said, to serve as barracks for Napoleon's 
soldiers, to the Negro homes in the neighborhood of Straight 
College, a Negro school, where good dwellings prevail. As in 
Charleston, the Negro population, which is a large domestic service 
group, lives near the white population throughout the city. Social 
workers, however, know the Devil apartments, the Ark, and Silver 
City, named for its brilliance of tin and bottles in the construction. 

31 Named for a manufacturer who offered $1,000 to each Negro church 
within a radius of one mile, in appreciation of the influence of these churches 
in promoting sobriety and good habits in his workers. 


The city has a zoning ordinance which disturbs the normal trend of 
housing expansion without offering any satisfactory relief for the 
Negro families. 

The absence of specific measurements of Negro housing in this 
area warrants general description of the areas of Negro resi- 
dence, with the process by which they are constantly shifting, and 
this is given in some detail because it reflects characteristic trends 
in those sections where racial factors are of great importance and 
the economic ineffectiveness of the group is exaggerated by deter- 
mined racial policies. 

Old Residence Areas Turned to Negro Use. 32 "There is, first, a section 
which is part commercial and part residential, in which Negroes are found. 
The residence part formerly was occupied by aristocratic white persons. As 
it declined in desirability it became the red-light district. It is populated 
chiefly by West Indians who are either in business or have just come over. 
The superintendent of the public school system used to live in this area but 
the white residents began to move out and then the city built a garbage 
incinerator over here, and all of the best whites moved out and the Negroes 
moved in with the poor whites. There was a great deal of protest even from 
the white business men when they built the incinerator, but they paid no 
attention to it. Now about one-half of the population of this area consists 
of the laboring class." 

White Residents Move Out when Negroes Move in. 33 "The railroad 
tracks cut through, and the railroad has bought up all of the homes near the 
track, apparently to keep better homes from being built which would cause a 
protest against the track running through. They rent these houses to Negroes, 
and they are badly kept up. The cemetery separates them from the restricted 
area. This red-light district was officially broken up during the war, but 
it still hangs on. The West Indians go into business there and live there, 
but they generally move out after they get a start. They go in there be- 
cause of cheap rents and the business opportunities. 

"The whites started leaving when the Negroes began to come in. When- 
ever a Negro would move next door, that was a signal for them to begin 
moving out. Then the school moved over here and that attracted more 

Other Disagreeable Factors in Depreciated Properties Are Usually 
Overlooked. 34 "The incinerator is just four blocks from the school and we 
get the odor over here when the wind is blowing this way. It is surrounded 
by some of the poorest Negro cabins. Even the Jung Hotel (one of the largest 

82 Cited by Mr. George Longe, Principal, Wicker Junior High School, 
New Orleans. 
33 Ibid. 


in the city) and all of the Canal Street business men objected to the in- 
cinerator being put there. 

"The prize-fight coliseum is near the incinerator too ; the area further down 
near Jones School (Valena C. Jones, on North side near Claiborne) is 
called Monkey Land. Palliate Land is back town, and is named for the 
men who owned a large tract of land out there. It is bounded by the 
Bayou, St. John, Farias Avenue, the Southern Railroad and Hibernia Ave- 
nue. Dillard University has a new site in this section." 

Immigrant Areas. 35 "About 20 blocks from this area we have a group 
consisting largely of Italians making and selling whiskey to Negroes. 
'Razor Alley' is near the penitentiary. They called it by that name because 
there were so many fights over there. Then there are some sections named 
after certain churches. One is called Zion City after Zion Church." 

Algiers, a Negro Settlement. 38 "There's a section called Algiers over 
near the river, and the 'Little Coast in Algiers' is a very interesting place ; it 
is in the city limits and McDonough School No. 32 is on the upper side near 
the heart of the town. This school I am telling you about is further down 
on the lower coast. Out there, children have to leave school at certain times 
of the year to work in the gardens. In the whole community there are 
only three or four good houses. There are no streets, just lanes and gravel 
roads ; the lanes have such names as Socks Lane, Lee's Lane, and so forth. 
People live in one- or two-room houses in rows. They keep rather dirty 
homes, but that cannot be helped because large families pile up in those two 
little rooms. There are very few who have three rooms. There is no 
sanitation; just old fashioned privies. 

"There were blocks and blocks without light, and they have to go to the 
river and bail up water in buckets to use. During the summer the men 
invited in the Civic League from the city and drew up a petition for some 
lights and a better water supply. They were given immediate attention, and 
now they have a few lamp posts and are developing a better water supply." 

Alley Dwellers. 37 "Housing conditions, especially in the section of the La 
Fon School, are very poor. There are some houses divided into twenty one- 
room apartments that have no lighting except from the alley. They are 
shut off from the front and side streets and are very dark. You find this 
type of flat all over the city. Most of the people use charcoal stoves for 
cooking and heating, and often holes are burnt in the floor from these, for 
they are sometimes merely buckets (galvanized) and some of the holes are 
big enough for a person to fall through. There is one toilet for each five 
families. All the houses have smoke flues. There is no gas connection. 
Some of the rooms are as cheap as $1 or $3 per week. They have no 
yards; just the alleyways, and no back yards either. It is a very public 
affair ; most of them wash up out on the porch. Often a man comes out 

m lbjd. 

86 Cited by Mrs. Maude R. Dedeaux, Principal of Lawton School in 
Algiers, New Orleans. 

87 Cited by Mrs. Irving Evans, Community Center, La Fon-Thomy School, 
New Orleans, in interview. 


with his trousers and undershirt on and washes his body there. The women 
have to wash out there too. There is no room for privacy at all. 

"It is very low, wet and damp in all the yards except in summer. Most 
of the gutters are open and all the waste water, and so forth, runs out and 
empties into them. They become filled with stagnant water and I have seen 
the children fishing out things and sailing boats in this stagnant water. 
They empty half of the swimming pool water into it, and there is no proper 
outlet for it. Most of the houses leak. The next grade of houses is double 
with light from only one side. Each family in this type of house has to 
burn lights in the morning and in the afternoon." 

The Creoles. 38 "Down town from the railroad to Elysian Fields there are 
some more desirable houses. A good many Creoles live down there, and 
they mix freely with the whites and are able to get better homes than the 
Negroes, except the professional Negroes. The masses down town are, 
generally speaking, housed better than the masses up town. The down 
town section has suffered from lack of improved streets and water, but the 
city is now putting in streets and sewerage. There is not much interest 
in building and buying in the down town section. The land there is so low 
that the foundation has to be built up high to keep out the water. That 
is too expensive." 

Silver City. 89 "In the Thalia-Washington Avenue section the houses 
are not old. It is practically a new section which was at one time a city 
dump. It is called Silver City. I don't know why they call it that unless it 
refers to the settlement's having been built on the top of tin cans. It is now 
built up and many own homes there, but there is a rough element, too." 

Changing Neighborhoods. 40 "Louisiana Avenue at one time was all 
white. Now it is white from the river to Dryades and then colored for blocks 
and white again. The city never looks into predominantly colored as well as 
it does white sections, but we are so mixed up that they often have to do for 
both to do for whites. We have some terrible streets, but we have police 
protection, lights, sewerage, etc. 

"There has been some pushing out of whites in the Magnolia Street sec- 
tion. For instance, about six or eight blocks that were entirely white are 
now all colored. There are frequently clashes with reference to Negroes 
moving into white communities, but there has been no organized movement 
since the Segregation Act. There was a feeling that the colored ought not 
to have come into this block but nothing organized was done. Occasionally 
we have cases where a colored person moves into a white section and is 
made to feel that he's not wanted, but there's not much fight in them 
(whites) ; usually they move out if they can't put you out, if the feeling 
is real strong. 

"When I moved into my neighborhood most of the people there were 

88 Cited by the Reverend N. A. Holmes, 2307 Bienville, New Orleans, in 

89 Cited by Mrs. W. O. Sazon, Standard Life Insurance Company, New 
Orleans, in interview. 

40 Cited by Mr. E. A. Perkins, Principal, Danneel School, and by Mrs. 
W. O. Sazon, Standard Life Insurance Company, New Orleans. 


white; in fact my next door neighbor was white. That is on Jenner Street 
near Magnolia; a white hospital is out there. It has not been more than 
two years ago since the colored started in. The houses are not so old. I 
don't know why they just started moving out; I know it was not because 
of Negroes for there has been one colored family here ever since I can 
remember and that family had a two-story double house, with a white 
family living in one side. The white hospital is now surrounded on two 
sides by colored, but it takes only emergency colored cases." 

There are more accurate studies of housing in certain other 
cities. The Social Science Department of Fisk University, for ex- 
ample, studied 1,000 Negro families in Nashville in 1929 and 
1930. Every fifth Negro family in the city was taken in the effort 
to get a sample that was fairly representative of the whole. The 
prevailing structure was the one-story dwelling and about 60 per 
cent of the families lived in these. There was little congestion; 
most of the families had been in occupancy a short period. About 
half of the houses (529) had running water, and only 15 per cent 
had bathtubs. The toilet was outside for 73 per cent of the 
houses, and only 19 per cent had modern inside toilets. The rents 
were low as compared with northern cities. The median was 
$15.51 per month. Congestion was not acute for the majority of 
the families, although by so broad a standard as two persons per 
sleeping room there was overcrowding in 23 per cent of the 
families. Rent increases had occurred during the year in 5 per 
cent of the cases. 

The Civic Federation of Dallas, Texas, studied 1,245 Negro 
homes in 1924 and 1925 and found, by a rough classificatioa of 
these dwellings, 15 per cent falling within a desirable class desig- 
nated as "A," 33.8 per cent in a class described as "good but lack- 
ing in some particulars," 31 per cent "barely habitable," and 19.2 
per cent "unfit for habitation." The classification, while not sup- 
ported by exact physical measurements, provides a reasonably ade- 
quate index, at least to gross differences in the habitability of 
Negro homes. The study points out further that "less than 50 per 
cent of the houses now occupied by Negroes are reasonably fit 
for good family life, while 20 per cent of the houses ought actually 
to be destroyed." 41 

41 Survey of Negro Housing in Dallas, Texas, The Dallas Committee on 
iterracial Cooperation, Civic Federation of Dallas, 1924-1925. (Manuscript.) 


In Houston, Texas, Jesse O. Thomas 42 of the National Urban 
League observed the absence of drainage, lights, and paving in 
the Negro sections, along with the poorly constructed and dilapi- 
dated houses. This need was most conspicuous in the lower-wage- 
earning groups. The fact that there are types of homes of better 
grade in Houston as in other southern cities is obvious in the 
numbers of such dwellings owned in some other sections of the 

Richmond, Virginia, has had the benefit of three studies of 
Negro housing within the past few years. The latest of these 
was a reflection of a growing civic interest in this aspect of local 
social problems, and had as its auspice the Richmond News- 
Leader * 3 Although in this study, made by a competent student 
of social science, the small-income groups were more generally 
covered than other scattered Negro individuals of larger means, 
practically the same processes of inheriting physical condition of 
the bulk of Negro dwellings are revealed. There was found an 
average of less than four rooms to each family, and an average 
age of these houses of 37.9 years. Four of each ten houses had 
leaking roofs, and three of each ten were in a state of advanced 
dilapidation. Leigh Street, which has long been the location of 
many of the refined homes of Negroes, is filled with large old brick 
houses originally owned by Richmond's white aristocracy many 
years before the Negroes took occupancy. In blocks of this street, 
as on some of the intersecting streets, there is a manifest effort to 
sustain the life of these dwellings of which they have acquired 
ownership, in the planting of gardens and shrubbery. There is 
at least one new residence section for Negroes in the vicinity of 
the Virginia Union University. 

The general picture, however, which includes all sections, reveals 
that at least half of the dwellings are in various stages of dilapi- 
dation; that less than one of every eight houses has plumbing 
facilities inside the house; that but one in three has a water con- 
nection inside the house ; and that 14 per cent have neither kitchen 
nor bathroom. 

The study was able to check and corroborate an earlier study 

42 Thomas, Jesse O., A Study of the Social Welfare Status of the Negroes 
in Houston, Texas, New York, National Urban League, 1929. 

43 Corson, John J. Ill, "Negro Housing in Richmond," Richmond News- 
Leader, September 21 to October 1, 1931. 


made by Charles L. Knight of the University of Virginia in 
1927, 44 and another by the Richmond Council of Social Agencies. 45 
The curious conclusion was reached by Mr. Corson, as a result 
of the findings of these studies, that the conditions observed were 
due to a relative decline in the Negro population since 1880. The 
ambitious Negro family, it was thought, moved away rather than 
face the handicap of uninhabitable and unattractive living sur- 
roundings and poor wages. Regarding municipal attention to 
Negro areas, the earlier report of the Richmond Council of Social 
Agencies is specific, both on the matter of the actual neglect and 
the attitude of the Negroes toward it. 

"On the broad question of the general difficulties of Negro life in Rich- 
mond, as already suggested, 916 different families listed 1,630 difficulties. 
Ahead of everything else came the criticism of the houses they lived in and 
the condition of their streets. There was a total of 707 such criticisms. 
Three hundred and ninety-two, or over one-half, directed their criticisms to 
the condition of their streets and alleys. The language used varied, but it 
all meant the same thing : Richmond Negroes feel that the streets in their 
sections are 'dirty,' 'bad,' 'muddy,' 'unpaved,' 'dark,' 'poorly lighted.' The 
Knight study, page 53, previously referred to, says, 'In Fulton, especially, 
the condition of the streets is such as would not be tolerated in a white 
community.' The summary of the condition of streets in that district, com- 
piled from block sheets made by the Survey field workers, reads: 'The 
streets of one-half of the blocks had never been paved. . . . Over one-third 
of the blocks surveyed are without sidewalks. In wet weather it was noted 
by the surveyors that mud makes some of the streets and sidewalks almost 
impassable. In some of the blocks, dirt paths run along paved or partially 
paved or oiled roads. A large portion of the district is without curbs or 
gutters.' " " 

The southern city surveys offer an almost unvarying picture. 
In Knoxville, 47 Tennessee, 34 per cent of the Negro dwellings 
were without sewerage connections, and in Louisville, 48 Kentucky, 

"Knight, Charles Louis, Negro Housing in Certain Virginia Cities (Rich- 
mond, Lynchburg and Charlottesville), (University of Virginia, Phelps- 
Stokes Fellowship Paper No. 8), Richmond, The William Byrd Press, 1927. 

45 "The Negro in Richmond, Virginia," Report of the Negro Welfare Sur- 
vey Committee, Richmond Council of Social Agencies, 1929. 


* 7 Daves, J. H., A Social Study of the Colored Population of Knoxville, 
Tennessee, Knoxville, The Free Colored Library, 1926. 

"Ragland, J. M., A Study of 400 Negro Houses, Louisville, Ky., Louis- 
ville Urban League, 1924. 


about the same proportion of neglect was noted. Tulsa, 49 Okla- 
homa, has, perhaps, the highest concentration of Negro population 
of any city, North or South. About 98 per cent of its Negroes live 
in a single "black belt." In 1921 it was a scene of a disastrous race 
riot. The complete separation of the Negro area, unprotected 
by the dwellings of white residents, made it possible for a mob 
to destroy the entire section, comprising thirty city blocks, by fire. 
At present, numbers of Negroes live in the servant quarters of 
white residential sections. The rebuilt houses in the new Negro 
section represent a motley array of structures from improvised 
shelters to brick apartment houses and hotels. However, the city 
has not extended lighting to this area, nor any useful amount of its 
sanitary measures and utilities. Washington, D. C., 50 may be con- 
sidered virtually a southern city, although it is the National Capital. 
The original plan of the city provided for wide and deep building 
lots. As the population grew and land values increased, the front 
yards were used for solid rows of dwellings and the deep back 
yards for cheaper buildings facing the alleys. While they were 
new, they were called courts. Negro population increase sug- 
gested a use for these and they were extended throughout the city. 
"So closely have the terms Alleys and Negroes been associated," 
says the author of The Housing of Negroes in Washington, D. C., 
"that in the minds of most of the older citizens they are insepa- 
rable." In 1908 the police department enumerated 261 alleys with a 
population of 14,237 Negroes and 1,614 white persons. They lived 
under the odium of such names as Tin Can Alley, Church Row, 
Coon Alley, Hog Alley, Moonshine Alley. The residents of Goat 
Alley made an appeal to the City Commissioners to have their 
homes designated by a more respectable name. 51 Besides the alleys 
are two types of homes: Those built for Negroes and those in- 
herited in the customary manner from white persons. The first 
are poorly constructed and exorbitantly priced. Real estate men 
contend that for Negro buyers they must be so. 

49 An Elementary Study of Negro Life in Tulsa, Oklahoma, New York, 
National Urban League, 1927. 

50 Jones, William Henry, The Housing of Negroes in Washington, D. C., 
Washington, Howard University Press, 1929. 

61 Ibid. 


Summary of Studies of Physical Aspects of Negro Housing 

Urban Negro Housing. Summarizing the physical features of 
urban Negro housing, North and South, these observations seem 
warranted : 

1. The recent migration to cities has increased Negro populations more 
rapidly than the neighborhoods to which they have been restricted have 

2. The areas which have become Negro areas are inevitably advanced 
in age and, for the most part, in various stages of dilapidation. 

3. Congestion has followed, at first, as a phase of city growth and has con- 
tinued as a phase of race relations. 

4. This congestion, moreover, comes about largely from conditions over 
which Negroes have little control. 52 

5. The Negro population pays, on the average, a higher rental than white 
families of the same income level, for similar dwellings. 

6. Adjustment to high rentals forces the taking in of lodgers to pay the 
rent, and these lodgers, in turn, become the excuse for further rent increases. 

7. The greater the isolation of Negro sections, the greater the neglect 
of these areas by municipalities. 

8. There have been few attempts to provide adequate new housing for 
this element of the population. 

9. The squalor and dilapidation associated with Negro areas, while in a 
measure due to the habits of the occupants, are nevertheless encouraged by 
the conditions themselves. 

10. There are few inspections of these areas and few corrective factors 
even where sanitary codes are in force. 

11. The segregation of Negro areas is indiscriminate and forces Negroes 
of all tastes and economic ability into an association which is neither natural 
nor generally wholesome. 

12. There are, despite the general condition, shades of difference in the 
condition of Negro-occupied properties, and significant differences between 
Negro residences in each locality, particularly when some of these dwellings 
are owned. 

13. The degrees of housing pressure vary among the cities, as do the 
patterns of segregation, but the basic relationship of the Negroes to the 
population as a whole remains the same. 

14. There is more congestion in the North than in the South, but the 
extent of tolerance of gross deficiencies in sanitation is greater in the South 
than in the North. 

15. There appears at present no serious effort in either section to correct 
these conditions. 

16. The housing need of Negroes, in its physical aspects, divides itself 
between : 

B2 Woofter, T. J. Jr. and Associates, Negro Problems in Cities, Garden 
City, N. Y., Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., 1928. 

vvV.^- "V." :*'; , ,.-*'. * J^SA- 

Courtesy of Housing Committee, Photograph by Richard Carlylc Ball 

Washington Council of Social Agencies 

Unsanitary living conditions for Negroes in "Goat Alley," Washington, D. C. 
The insecure railings on the front stoop, the clutter and confusion of back- 
yards and the unsightly filled land next to the houses should be noted, as 
well as the expanse of windowless wall. 

Photograph by Richard Carlyle Ball 

Fire risk, insanitation, poor repair, clutter and confusion are all illustrated 
in this photograph of Logan's Court, Washington, D. C. 


(a) Requirement for adequate new low-priced dwellings for low-income 
groups of Negroes, and 

(b) Opportunities for Negroes of higher-income levels to secure or erect 
dwellings in more desirable sections of the city. 

Rural Negro Housing. The majority of the Negro population 
is still a rural population, although the proportions are decreasing 
with recent changes in agriculture. This phase of housing for 
Negroes centers itself almost exclusively in the South. Exceed- 
ingly few studies are available in this field. A first generalization, 
however, is offered in the figures which distinguish classes of 
rural Negroes. In 1920, there were 6,661,132 Negroes 53 living 
in rural areas. The agricultural census of 1925 indicates that of 
831,455 Negro farmers 23.4 per cent are owners and 76.5 ten- 
ants. Since it appears to be a rule that superior houses go with 
ownership, the major housing problem is that which has to do with 
the dwellings of the tenants. 

The rates of ownership vary between sections, and there may 
be home ownership in rural sections, apart from farm ownership. 
Little attention has been given, in the past, to particular condi- 
tions of Negro rural dwellings. The condition has usually been 
below the standard scale employed in measuring housing ade- 
quacy, and there has been recourse simply to emotional expressions 
of one sort or the other, but usually bad. The income of the ten- 
ant farmer has been so extremely small and the profits of agri- 
culture, generally, so meager, that little has been expected in the 
way of providing for tenants more than the familiar two- or three- 
room, unpainted, or white-washed cabin quarters with its char- 
acteristic "dog run," a sheltered porch dividing the house. Giles 
A. Hubert studied housing and ownership problems of Negro 
farmers in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma, 54 in 1931 and observed 
that both owner-operators and landlords have found it difficult to 
obtain funds to improve their houses in any permanent way. One 
description of rural housing of Negroes is offered in the study 
of the Children's Bureau of the United States Department of 
Labor, of children in cotton-growing areas of Texas. 

"Among Negro families the three- or four-room house was most common. 
Practically all were one-story frame buildings, with no basement and no 

63 The 1930 figures were not available at the time of the preparation of this 

54 Hubert, Giles A., A Short Study of Housing and Otvnership Problems 
of Farmers in Boley Community, Okfuskee County, Oklahoma, 1931. 


foundation other than pillars or wooden blocks. Few houses had any modern 
conveniences. In Hill County most of these were heated by stoves, but in 
Rusk County 89 per cent of the white and 82 per cent of the Negro families 
depended upon a fireplace for heating. Among Negro families in Rusk 
County only 7 per cent, and only 2 per cent of the Negro families in Hill 
County, reported water in the house or on the porch. None of the Negro 
families in either county had a sink." 

Woof ter 55 studied Negro families on St. Helena Island, an old 
plantation community, in 1930, and of their housing he says: 

"The majority of these first houses were one- or two-room cabins with 
stick and mud chimney. There was a scattering of larger houses embel- 
lished with bay windows and front porches. Under the constant pressure 
of Penn School for better homes the one-room houses have gradually dis- 
appeared and now only a few of this type are occupied by the older people. 

"The next type was the two-room house with a 'jump-up'. The 'jump- 
up' corresponds, on a smaller scale, to the second story rooms placed under 
a bungalow roof . . . ." 

"The average house is now 3.3 rooms . . . ." 

". . . About 20 per cent of the households average more than two people 
per room." 

The Department of Social Science of Fisk University has con- 
ducted studies of the Negro population in two southern counties 
and one small town area in the South. 56 One of the rural studies 
was of a county in Tennessee, and the other of a county in Ala- 
bama. In the Tennessee county 56 per cent of the dwellings were 
over twenty years old, 75 per cent fell in the class of disrepair 
which included leaking roofs, broken windows, doors and steps. 
Half of these homes had open privies, and of the 748 dwellings 
only 12 had sanitary toilets and 158 had sanitary pits. The re- 
mainder had open privies, or no provision for disposal of waste 
at all. 

In the Alabama county, half of the families lived in one- and 
two-room cabins, and 28 per cent in three-room cabins. Twenty- 
six per cent of the cabins were over thirty years old and 74 per 
cent over sixteen years old. There were few windows, only board 
blinds which were kept closed at night. Three hundred and ten had 
open privies and 296 had no provision for sewage disposal. 

In Kingsport, Tennessee, a small town, there were 21 owners 

86 Woofter, T. J. Jr., Black Yeomanry, New York, Henry Holt and Com- 
pany, 1930, p. 214. 

56 Johnson, Charles S., Negro Rural Life Studies, Department of Social 
Science, Fisk University, Nashville, Tenn. 


among 133 Negro families. In the 133 dwellings there were 35 
which could be considered in good repair. 

In the southern cotton mill towns the Negro housing is usually 
an unkempt adjunct. Paul Blanshard 57 describes the general as- 
pect of these sections in a brief reference : 

"At the edge of many of the southern mill villages is 'nigger town,' a short 
stretch of road flanked by small, unpainted cottages which have the general 
appearance of being run down at the heels. Its houses are usually without 
lights and running water. . . ." 

Some of the dwellings of rural Negro owners, of course, reach 
a high standard, and improvements are noted both in value and 
care of their homes. T. C. Walker 58 points to the increase in the 
amount of taxes paid by Negroes on personal property during a 
period of fifty years: 

"Fifty years ago the Negroes of these (24) Tidewater counties owned 
but little personal property. Their furniture consisted of old chests, boxes, 
and roughly made bureaus, bedsteads and the like. Today such property 
as they then had, say, perhaps, one feather bed and two pillows usually held 
by each family, would not be assessed at any value. . . . By this report 
... (of the State Auditor) these 24 counties pay taxes on personal prop- 
erty valued at $1,771,358." 

Other individual instances of rural housing self-help are cited 
from The Negro Year Book: 

" . . . W. R. Sarratt of Cherokee County, Georgia, owns 84 acres of land. 
His house, which cost him $6,000, is equipped with a Delco lighting system. 
He paid $40 per acre for his land. It was 'run down/ By taking care of 
his terraces, deep plowing and rotation of crops, he has brought it up to a 
high state of cultivation. He raises his own corn, wheat, oats and meat. 
He has bought no flour in four years and eats wheat bread all the time; he 
has bought no corn since before the World War. He keeps one cow, two 
mules, a Fordson and a Ford touring car . . ," 69 

"The flavor of romance is not lacking in the recent sale of the Old Phil 
Cook plantation, in Lee County, to a Negro who has been a tenant on its 
broad acres for 18 years. 

"The plantation embraces 1,400 acres, and on it its owner, General Phil 
Cook, lived for many years. He represented the Third District in Congress, 
then became Georgia's Secretary of State, holding the latter office till his 

67 Blanshard, Paul, Labor in Southern Cotton Mills, New York, New Re- 
public, Inc., 1927, p. 67. 

58 "Development in the Tidewater Counties of Virginia," Annals of The 
American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1913, Vol. 49, p. 138. 

59 Work, Monroe N., Editor, The Negro Year Book, Tuskegee, Ala., 1931, 
p. 120. 


death. He was succeeded as Secretary of State by his son and namesake, who 
had been born on the Lee County plantation, and who in turn held the office 
in which his father had died till his own death some years ago. 

"The Cook place was sold at auction for the purpose of effecting a divi- 
sion among the heirs. The sale attracted a large crowd, but the bidding 
was not spirited, owing to the fact that large plantations are not now much 
in demand. The Negro tenant to whom the place was knocked down ob- 
tained it for $16,000. He is John Murphy, a practical and successful farmer 
who is highly thought of in his community." 

The Rural Section of the Group on Physical Aspects of Negro 
Housing under the chairmanship of Mrs. Florence C. Williams, 
in consideration of the paucity of actual studies of this situation 
in the important southern area, attempted to assemble general 
facts concerning trends in rural housing, through the medium of 
rural organizations, farm demonstrators and individuals in posi- 
tion to supply such data. It was understood that the conditions 
of such an inquiry, with respect to time and facilities, would pre- 
clude the use of methods yielding exact measurement, but these 
trends were regarded as important to know, in the absence of 
more detailed studies. Accordingly, in Florida, a cooperating 
group was organized under the chairmanship of Mrs. Ruth W. 
Atkinson, with Cyrus T. Greene of the Urban League as secretary. 
Working through the Florida Farmers' Cooperative Association, 
with headquarters at the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical 
College in Tallahassee, and assisted by the State Agricultural Ex- 
tension Service and Vocational Educational Department, they ap- 
proached local rural communities in the state. 

According to this report: 

"For the State of Florida the average size of family is 4.2. The number 
varies slightly in the case of certain counties, in some of which it may be 
more and in others less. The repair of tenant houses may or may not be 
kept up and in either case it may be done by the tenant or landlord and in 
some cases by both. For the most part tenant houses on farms in Florida 
are scattered. Less than 25 per cent were shown as grouped or quartered 
in the twenty counties given in this study. 

"The water supply for tenants, in most cases, is more than one hundred 
feet away from the home. Very little attention is paid to the screening of 
windows in the state, but toilet facilities are provided for practically each 
home. Limited improvements in these particulars have been noticed. 

"There is a division of opinion in the matter of segregation of Negro 
farmers. Depreciation in the values of property is seen as a handicap in 

90 Ibid. 



Table II. Showing Population and Home Ownership In 
Florida Counties 

(From Federal Census, 1930) 

Name of County 

Per Cent 
of Rural 
Who Own 

Value of 
Land and 

Per Cent 
of Negro 
in County 

in County 
to 1930 



44 6 




262 , 245 




5 5 



















Jefferson . 


























27 5 

749 , 565 




1 5 




Palm Beach 





St. Johns. . 


























15 1 

67 470 



segregation; insurance protection is more difficult to secure; loan values on 
such property are practically nihil and the lack of good roads and facilities 
are major handicaps; but on the other hand, community groups are con- 
sidered an advantage for educational and religious purposes. 

"The purchase of Negro homes in rural communities is limited. The plan 
of the Simmons-Whittington bill introduced in the last Congress ^ is de- 
signed to finance the reclaiming of abandoned farms, and in the case of 
Florida, it would accelerate the present plans of agricultural extension work. 

"The compulsory laws in the rural sections for screening windows should 
be resorted to after an intensive campaign of education regarding the mat- 
ter of rural sanitation, which should be carried forward by rural, civic and 
welfare organizations. Such a procedure would greatly facilitate the under- 
standing of these problems and Negro farms and homes could then be main- 
tained at a higher assessed valuation and become more productive. 

"In some cases Negroes who own farms and homes are assessed at a 
higher value of taxation than white citizens in the same community. Then, 
too, in other cases Negroes are automatically restricted from purchase by 

81 71st Congress, 1st Session, H. R. 1677, S. 412. 


requirements set by those in authority. Taxes are sometimes raised in order 
to discourage ownership in some localities on improved highways. A few 
cases of incendiarism have been noted and other illegal efforts have been 
made to prevent Negroes from improving rural homes. 

"Of late years a one-crop system has been regarded as a curse to the 
Negro farmers and the boll weevil has been considered by some a 'godsend' 
in educating farmers to a point of better appreciation for diversified farm- 
ing. This has made possible an increase in rural Negro home ownership 
as indicated by the tendency on the part of land owners to sell off small 
tracts of land to Negro purchasers." 

The section attempted to secure certain general information 
through questionnaires distributed in ten southern states. These 
were directed to institutions, state and county officials, and a large 
list of white and Negro planters. Inasmuch as these question- 
naires requested summary observations concerning certain local 
communities, the returns can be taken only as the impressions of 
persons regarded as well informed on local questions. According 
to the memorandum prepared on the basis of 308 returns, it 
appears that the structure of tenant homes is changing slowly 
from the well-known but archaic log cabin to small frame shelters, 
and that with the exception of South Carolina the tendency seems 
to be to scatter these tenant houses rather than group them, as 
formerly, in quarters. Water supply was extremely faulty in about 
half of these areas, and although some form of toilet is provided 
there were no cases which indicated an attempt to introduce im- 
provements over the minimal fact of convenience. A large per- 
centage of the tenants now raise gardens and chickens. The size 
of tenant dwellings was three to four rooms, while the size of 
family ranged around five. Newly built dwellings tended to be 
larger than the older dwellings. 

Opinions of persons questioned on various phases of Negro 
housing were included in this memorandum: 

"The ability of Negroes to finance the purchase of rural homes seems 
to vary somewhat in the different states and even in different parts of the 
same state. In Mississippi 70 per cent stated that Negroes can purchase 
rural homes on the same basis as whites, 30 per cent giving a negative 
reply. Arkansas landowners and a few tenants gave the same answer, as 
did 14 out of 25 Negro teachers in Virginia. The majority of the tenants 
in Arkansas and ten Negro teachers stated that they cannot. In North 
Carolina it is very generally stated that they can, while in Tennessee, Ken- 
tucky, and South Carolina they cannot. The obstacles given are the large 
initial payment, high interest rates, and indifference of bankers and loan 


associations to Negro business. South Carolina replies that white business 
men and county officials find the Negro buyer a greater risk, particularly 
in the coast counties, and that he is not inclined to stick to his bargain. 
Racial prejudice was given as an obstacle to home ownership in a small per- 
centage of the replies. 

"Ninety per cent of the Kentucky replies stated that the rural Negro 
cannot obtain home insurance on the same basis as whites, the reasons given 
being that the property is not kept in repair, and that buildings are poorly 
constructed and generally a poor risk. In South Carolina the whites respond- 
ing did not know and the Negroes nearly all answered 'no/ the reasons 
being very generally the same. Racial discrimination was given as the chief 
reason in Mississippi, the owners invariably answering 'no.' A majority of 
the white informants evaded the question. The situation seems better in 
Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, and North Carolina where 
60 per cent replied that they can obtain home insurance on the same basis 
as whites as against 40 per cent in the negative, and in Tennessee 80 per 
cent gave a favorable reply." 

Summary of Physical Aspects of Negro Housing in the 
South. The judgment of members of the Group on Physical As- 
pects of Negro Housing regarding the general features of this 
housing in the South is thus stated : 

"In the study of the physical aspects of Negro housing in the South, 
it was found that Negro housing in general was inadequate. On the out- 
skirts of many large cities, Negroes are found living generally in shanties 
built usually of wood, always unpainted, out of repair, squalid, lacking 
many modern conveniences and unsupplied with sewerage, running water, 
and indoor toilets. It was found that during the last fifteen years there has 
been a very marked movement of Negroes from rural to urban communities 
in the South. This movement has not been confined entirely to Negroes, 
however, and it is primarily a result of a combination of factors, first among 
which is a desire to leave the farm and a hope to earn a larger income. 
Other factors moving them cityward have been the better educational facili- 
ties for their children, better churches, a little better housing, and a better 
social grouping. 

"The migrant Negroes found in the cities houses which were not much bet- 
ter than the ones from which they came. In most of the Negro districts in 
the cities these houses present a particularly ramshackle appearance. They 
are situated almost always along the railroad tracks or in swampy, isolated 
districts. The streets in the districts of this lower economic group are very 
seldom paved, nor are the roads kept in good condition. Most of the houses 
are dilapidated, with loose boards and sagging porches. Three- or four-room 
cottages of the 'shot-gun type' predominate. Sewerage, water, electric lights 
or gas' are usually absent. Schools are always far away. The use of kero- 
sene lamps in most of these homes prevails, and it is not uncommon to see 
a family of father, mother and two or three children gathered around a table 
upon which is a small kerosene lamp. With the aid of this dim glow the 


parents are trying to read the newspapers and the children are trying to do 
their school work. These places are usually heated by open grates and the 
cooking is done on ranges or over oil stoves. Overcrowding always prevails. 

"As the Negro moves up in the economic scale, he moves his family into 
the next higher residential area. This is generally an interstitial area where 
the homes are lighted with electricity or gas and heated by either coal stoves 
or by what are known as 'heatrolas/ The construction of the houses is 
usually of wood and brick and sometimes of stone. The walls of the rooms 
are usually painted and the ceilings calcimined. Separate dining-rooms and 
separate kitchens also prevail. The professional type of Negro and others 
who have comparatively large incomes usually purchase property in out- 
lying districts of southern towns or in neighborhoods in the main occupied 
by white people. In many cases these homes are built for the Negro owners. 
They range from the small bungalow type of residence to the large house. 
In most cases they are heated by furnaces, always painted, and often sur- 
rounded by yards with shrubbery and flowers. 

"In view of the terrible neglect shown by most southern cities with ref- 
erence to Negro housing, especially in blighted areas, it was the conclusion 
of the committee that in all the cities of the South, the sections in which 
Negroes live in large numbers should be as desirably located with regard 
to topography as is the white area. The area should be provided with all 
the municipal improvements such as paving, water, sewerage, gas or elec- 
tricity, fire and police protection. The greatest source for the development 
of these different types of service would be new building laws in most south- 
ern towns and the setting up of public machinery for city zoning. In addition 
to this, it is the committee's thought that public controls within the group 
itself should be established; namely, the organization of agencies which 
would create public opinion working toward the protection of the districts 
from immoral characters and inadequate housing. These agencies should 
also urge the proper conduct of municipal departments in the prompt re- 
moval and disposal of refuse, the condemnation and razing of buildings dan- 
gerous to life and limb, and efficient police and fire protection." 


Segregation Ordinances and Private Covenants 

One factor which may be regarded as the source of the special 
stress of Negro housing difficulties is racial segregation. It is, 
perhaps, natural that this policy should be set as an ideal policy 
of biracialism, as a result of the special circumstances of Negro 
history. In the United States the Negroes, in some measure, have 
adjusted themselves to it. They have set up their social institu- 
tions and foci of everyday interests in the areas to which they 
have found themselves restricted. It is inevitable, however, that 
abuses inherent in such an artificial alignment of society should 
follow, and that there should develop, within the Negro group, as a 
normal phase of its development, increasing numbers of families 
with the desire for something better. 

The common belief seems to be that Negroes are a single, 
homogeneous group, adaptable alike to the same types of en- 
vironment; that the deteriorated areas, inherited by the low-in- 
come groups of Negroes as a result of their poverty, are alone 
theirs by right of race ; that they are "happier in their own neigh- 
borhoods," and for that reason require no interference ; that any 
attempt on their part to escape this sordidness is prompted by a 
desire to live socially among white persons. Public opinion has 
been strong on this question for many years, and the degree of 
segregation which obtains at present is impressed by the force of 
tradition and of such economic necessities as have already been 
referred to. In northern centers economic factors have been 
strongest in effecting segregation; in southern sections racial 
factors have, perhaps, been strongest. The border states and cities, 
which have represented a mixture of attitudes and compulsions, 
have been most active in attempting to crystallize the ideal of com- 
plete separation in housing by legislation, as it has been crystallized 
throughout most of the South in transportation, in the schools, 
and in many other public relations. 

The long, though ill-defined, policy of separation of the white 
and Negro residence districts in the cities of the country, North 



and West as well as South, was first codified in a law in the fall of 
1910, when the City of Baltimore, Maryland, took the initiative in 
devising special legislation to enforce separation. 1 This legisla- 
tion, the so-called West Segregation Ordinance, followed popular 
agitation over the moving of a Negro family into a block which 
was at that time inhabited exclusively by white persons. The 
ordinance, very crudely drawn, was declared invalid in 1911, but 
another one was passed immediately. It also was declared uncon- 
stitutional. In 1913 a third ordinance was introduced, and the 
final decision in the Court of Appeals was withheld, pending a 
decision of the Supreme Court. 2 However, from the first sugges- 
tion of relief for this question through summary legislation there 
followed similar ordinances in Winston-Salem and Mooresville, 
North Carolina, in 1912, and, in 1913, ordinances in Madisonville, 
Kentucky; Birmingham, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; Richmond 
and Norfolk, Virginia; and in Asheville, North Carolina. In the 
following year a segregation ordinance was passed in Louisville, 
Kentucky. In 1916 St. Louis, Missouri, Dallas, Texas, and sev- 
eral other cities in Texas and Oklahoma passed ordinances aim- 
ing at the same result. These ordinances were upheld by the courts 
of the States of North Carolina, Georgia, and Missouri. Finally, 
the Louisville case reached the Supreme Court of the United 
States on November 5, 1917, arid after two hearings it was unan- 
imously declared unconstitutional. 3 

Although the Louisville decision temporarily checked the spread 
of these local ordinances, and prompted evasions of the uncon- 
stitutional features in private agreements between white landlords 
and real estate agents, several southern cities have attempted, by 
further changes in the legal wording of the bill, to secure a re- 
versal of the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States. 
New Orleans passed a residential segregation ordinance in 1924; 
during the next two years other acts were passed by Indianapolis, 
Indiana, and Norfolk, Virginia. Both the Indianapolis and Nor- 
folk acts were defeated in the lower courts, but the New Orleans 
law, after a defeat in the lower court, was carried to the State 

1 Stephenson, Gilbert T., "The Segregation of the White and Negro Races 
in Cities," The South Atlantic Quarterly, January, 1914, Vol. 13, pp. 1-18. 
- Ibid. 
3 The Crisis, December, 1917, Vol. 15, p. 69. 


Supreme Court by its white advocates, where they actually secured 
a reversal of the decision. The National Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Colored People carried the case again to the United 
States Supreme Court, and on the basis of the Louisville decision 
succeeded in having the New Orleans enactment declared uncon- 
stitutional. However, as late as February, 1930, a judge in the 
Superior Court in Los Angeles, California, handed down a de- 
cision restraining a Negro woman from occupying property which 
she held in a neighborhood in which no other Negroes resided, 
and from aiding or abetting other non-Caucasians in occupying 
these premises. 4 The history of these enactments provides an 
index to the strength of popular feeling regarding the complete 
segregation of Negro residence areas. 

Patterns of Legal Segregation Attempted 

Judge Gilbert Stephenson, who is responsible for the first im- 
portant study of race distinctions in American law, 5 has defined 
four types of segregation ordinances. The first type he calls the 
Baltimore type, which was copied by Greenville, South Carolina, 
and Atlanta, Georgia. Its chief characteristic was that it applied 
only to all-white and all-Negro blocks and did not undertake to 
legislate for blocks upon which both white people and Negroes 
lived. The second type of ordinance is illustrated by the Vir- 
ginia law. Under this statute any city or town so desiring might 
divide its territory into "segregation districts"; designate which 
districts are to be for white people and which for Negroes, and 
make it unlawful for white people to live in Negro districts and 
for Negroes to live in white districts. Roanoke, Virginia, took 
advantage of this law and divided its territory into segregation 
districts. Portsmouth, Virginia, followed. Previously, all legis- 
lation had been limited to municipal ordinances until Virginia ac- 
tually passed a state segregation law. A similar bill was intro- 
duced into the General Assembly of North Carolina, but failed. 
A third type of segregation legislation was first adopted as a local 
ordinance by Richmond, Virginia. It was copied by Ashland, 

4 See The Defender, February 8, 1930, p. 1. 

5 Stephenson, Gilbert T., Race Distinctions in American Law, New York, 
D. Appleton and Company, 1910. 


Virginia, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This type of 
ordinance undertook to legislate for the whole city, declaring a 
block white whereon a majority of the residents were white, 
and colored whereon a majority of the people were colored. 

The preamble to the Richmond ordinance includes many of the 
rationalizations of the policy, which are not often articulated, and 
very definitely suggests the influence of the temporary hysteria 
over racial intermixture, which has never appeared to be related 
to residence sites. Further, it sought to give to the ordinance 
both the legal aspect and nondiscrimination and the emotional 
weight of an earlier enactment. Its application was referred to 
those forbidden to intermarry. The ordinance was clothed in ex- 
pressions of solicitude for the public welfare. 


1. That in order to preserve the general welfare, peace, racial integrity, 
morals, and social good order of the city of Richmond, it shall be unlawful 
for any person to use as a residence any building on any street between in- 
tersecting streets, where the majority of residences on such streets are oc- 
cupied by those with whom said person is forbidden to intermarry by sec- 
tion 5 of the Act of the General Assembly of Virginia entitled: "An Act 
to Preserve Racial Integrity," and approved March 20, 1924, or as the same 
may be hereafter amended; provided, that nothing in this ordinance shall 
affect the right, existing at the time of the passage of this ordinance in any 
person, to use any such building as a residence. 

2. Any person violating the provisions of this ordinance shall be liable to 
a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred 
dollars, recoverable before the police justices of the city of Richmond as the 
case may be, each day's violation to constitute a separate offense. 

3. That all ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict with the or- 
dinance be and the same are hereby repealed. 

4. This ordinance shall be in force from its passage.' 

The ordinance did not apply to white business enterprises oper- 
ating within Negro neighborhoods. 

The fourth type was the Norfolk type, which was more general 
in its application than any of the others. It applied to mixed as 
well as all-white and all-Negro blocks, and determined the color 
of the block by the ownership as well as by the occupancy of the 

The urge to legislation was extended from cities to rural sec- 

e See The Crisis, April, 1929, Vol. 36, No. 4. 


tions. Mr. Clarence Poe of North Carolina (editor of the Pro- 
gressive Farmer) sponsored the proposal : 

"That wherever the greater part of the land acreage in any given district 
that may be laid off is owned by one race a majority of the voters in such a 
district should have the right to say, if they wish, that in future no land 
shall be sold to a person of a different race provided such action is ap- 
proved or allowed (as being justified by considerations of the peace, protec- 
tion and social life of the community) by a reviewing judge or board of 
county commissioners." 7 

Practically all of the ordinances attempted to avoid illegal speci- 
fication of a discriminatory racial factor by making the statute 
apply to white and black alike, and by insisting that the purpose 
was to bring about better relations between the races and keep 
down disturbances. The purposes of the Baltimore, Atlanta, and 
Greenville ordinances were stated as a desire to preserve peace, 
prevent conflict and ill-feeling between races, and to promote the 
general welfare of the city. The preamble to the Virginia statute 

"Whereas the preservation of the public morals, public health and public 
order in the cities and towns of this Commonwealth is endangered by the 

residence of white and colored people in close proximity to one another, 

All of these attempted ordinances have occurred in southern 
states and states bordering on the South, including California in 
the far West. 

The Louisville ordinance was the first, after several years of 
legal segregation, to reach the Supreme Court of the United 
States. 9 Like most of the other ordinances it had been designed 
"to prevent conflict and ill-feeling between the white and colored 
races in the City of Louisville, and to preserve the public peace and 
promote the general welfare," . . . etc. The Court held that it was 
invalid because it ran counter to the provision of the 14th amend- 
ment that "no state shall make or enforce any laws which may 
abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United 
States." It held further that the City of Louisville violated the 
provision that no state shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or 

T Poe, Clarence, "Rural Land Segregation Between Whites and Negroes : 
A Reply to Mr. Stephenson," The South Atlantic Quarterly, July, 1914, 
pp. 207-212. 

8 Stephenson, Gilbert T., "The Segregation of the White and Negro Races 
in Cities," The South Atlantic Quarterly, January, 1914, Vol. 13, pp. 1-18. 

9 Buchanan v. Warley, 245 U. S. 60. 


property without due process of law, or deny to any person within 
its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." "Property," the 
Court held, "is more than the mere thing which a person owns ; it 
is elementary that it includes the right to acquire, use, and dis- 
pose of it." Moreover, it could not be defended on the grounds 
of the "police power" of the state, for the police power "cannot 
justify the passage of a law or ordinance which runs counter to the 
limitations of the Federal Constitution." On the matter of pro- 
moting public peace by preventing race conflicts, the Court de- 
creed that "desirable as this is, and important as is the preserva- 
tion of public peace, this aim cannot be accomplished by laws or 
ordinances which deny rights created or protected by the Federal 

One point of view as expressed in the press, following this deci- 
sion, accepted the decision as a means of preventing new "ghettos" 
and "slums," while another wing of opinion observed, still hope- 
fully, that "what the city cannot do by formal enactment it may 
be able to accomplish justly and fairly by other means." 

The failure of these attempts, thus far, to fix the residence 
boundaries of Negroes by law has, no doubt, been due more to 
the inescapable wording of the Constitution than to the choice of 
an active element of the white population. This is nowhere more 
evident than in the continued efforts to accomplish this segrega- 
tion under various arrangements which evade the safeguards of 
the Constitution. 10 

Restrictive Compacts and Covenants 

What custom accomplishes by way of controlling racial resi- 
dence sites in many cities of the South, and the segregation or- 
dinances sought to do for the border states, the practice of enter- 
ing into covenants to exclude Negroes from certain areas accom- 
plishes in areas of the North. For, whereas it is now uncon- 

10 It should be pointed out that on the matter of domiciliary segregation 
there is not the unanimous approval even of the southern white people. The 
wealthier classes, for example, view these laws with less concern. The 
"evils" are of greatest concern to such white persons as reside within cer- 
tain local bounds. Usually the ordinances are pushed most earnestly by 
white householders and speculators who, either for social or pecuniary rea- 
sons, or both, object to Negro proximity. The wealthier white house- 
holders, by virtue of their superior economic ability, reside beyond the pale 
of encroachment of either undesirable Negroes or undesirable whites. They 
are most likely to prefer to have their Negro servants live near by, and in 
so doing they do not run the risk of presenting a similar social level. 


stitutional to legislate against one element of citizens, the law 
permits individuals to enter contractual relationships and offers 
machinery for punishing violators of contracts. Thus, these cove- 
nants have become widespread through the North, and these ex- 
clusion methods have been reinforced by violence in Chicago, De- 
troit, White Plains, New York, Washington, and Philadelphia. 

The first challenge of the covenants came in 1923, in the Wash- 
ington, D. C, case of Corrigan v. Buckley, 299 Fed. 899. There 
had been a covenant, to which Mrs. Irene Hand Corrigan was a 
party, that the property would never be rented, leased, sold, or 
otherwise transferred to a Negro or to persons of African descent. 
The court ruled in 1924 that the covenant was valid and did not 
invade the constitutional rights of Negroes, inasmuch as Negroes 
had the right to enter into agreements to keep white persons or 
other persons deemed undesirable out of Negro neighborhoods. 

In 1926, while the suit was still pending, an injunction was 
granted restraining the sale of other property affected by the 
restrictive covenants. Meanwhile, another type of covenant apr 
peared in the case of a parcel of property in Randolph Place, 
in Washington, owned by Mrs. Minnie E. Torrey, a white woman, 
and sold to Mr. Sereno S. Ivy, a Negro. The deed to the property 
contained the following clause: 

"Subject to the covenant that said lots shall never be rented, leased, sold, 
transferred, or conveyed unto any Negro or colored person under a penalty 
of two thousand dollars which shall be a lien against such lot." 

The Supreme Court of the District of Columbia in 1925 held the 
covenant valid, and the case was appealed. 11 In 1927 another suit 
was filed to have Negroes vacate premises and abide by the condi- 
tions of a local restrictive covenant. Five suits, thus, were pending 
simultaneously in Washington, and in seventeen other cities in 
other sections of the country there was similar agitation over 
Negro segregation. 

Attacks on these covenants have rested upon the contention that 
such covenants are in restraint of alienation, in restraint of trade, 
and against the public policy of the United States. The United 
States Supreme Court, declaring that it had no jurisdiction, refused 
to review the two cases brought to it, which questioned the con- 
stitutionality of residential segregation agreements of property 

u On Appeal, Torrey v. Wolfes, 6 Fed. (2d) 702. 


owners held legal by the Court of Appeals of the District of 
Columbia. 12 

That this decision was taken as a new method of private social 
zoning is evident in the editorial comment of the Trenton Times, 
in calling attention to the decision and to the already effective 
means employed by a local group of property owners to keep all 
kinds of shops out of their neighborhood, when it said: "In newer 
sections there is opportunity for real estate developers to fix by 
deed the character of their neighborhoods not only as to the exclu- 
sion of stores, garages, etc., but ruling as to the types of citizens 
who may be admitted, as well." Thus, it seems that what is uncon- 
stitutional and bad policy for a state or municipality is possible 
and legal by private agreement. This privilege, as exercised in 
the covenants, freely employed with respect to Negroes, has ex- 
tended itself in various communities to include Jews, Indians, 
Japanese, "members of the Balkan races" (sic) and "South Euro- 

Some Social Effects of Formal Efforts at Segregation 

Contrary to the professed intentions of these measures, in the 
cities where segregation laws have been attempted, the efforts as a 
rule have been accompanied by an intensified race friction. In 
Baltimore, Louisville, and New Orleans, notably, the attempts to 
arouse popular interest to the point of legislation involved cam- 
paigns of vilification and emotional appeals which had little or no 
reference to the simple fact of housing. In Louisville, the racial 
feeling stimulated by the fight continued active for more than ten 
years. Not only did it aggravate race friction within and without 
the racial groups, but it stirred a type of "race solidarity" incom- 
patible with the most wholesome race relations. Bitterness re- 
mained on both sides; the white residents were balked by the 
Supreme Court; the Negroes were resentful of the disrespect of 
their own local government for their rights as citizens. 

In New Orleans there was organized the Louisiana Club for 
Segregation, which circulated such propaganda: 

12 See Work, Monroe N., Editor, The Negro Year Book, Tuskegee, Ala., 
1931-1932; Reports of National Association for the Advancement of Colored 
People, 69 Fifth Ave., New York; Opportunity, New York, August, 1926, 
Vol. 4; Literary Digest, New York, June 12, 1926, Vol. 89; The Crisis, New 
York, December, 1924, Vol. 29, No. 2; Congressional Digest, Washington, 
June, 1926, Vol. 5, p. 207. 


"Negroes have organized themselves . . . and are vigorously working 
night and day to gain social equality. Through their efforts they have over- 
thrown segregation laws for Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia, and Virginia. 
They want to be your next-door neighbor. They demand social equal- 
ity " 

A handbill told how much was being paid by the Federal Govern- 
ment in salaries to Negro employees, how many millions of dollars 
were being spent "to overcome the illiteracy test (applied to Negro 
prospective voters) to qualify him to vote," and asked what the 
whites were doing to "protect themselves." 13 

White residents in affected cities, who had lived near Negroes, 
and at times in adjoining houses to Negroes throughout their lives, 
became suddenly self-conscious. Many of them moved in panic 
because they could not resist the taunts of other white persons. 

The unwholesome stress of these ordinances is apparent in the 
immediate decline in prices of properties available to Negroes when 
the ban was removed in Louisville, Baltimore, Atlanta, and New 
Orleans. The better houses and neighborhoods into which the 
Negroes moved in these cities constituted an improvement over 
their previous housing condition, in spite of the fact that finan- 
cially, even in the subdivisions, they have been bought at a rela- 
tively high cost. 

The covenants have already demonstrated some of the economic 
dangers of fixed domiciliary segregation. The covenanters in the 
Grand Boulevard district in Chicago who, in 1917, agreed not to 
sell 60 pieces of property to Negroes, went to the court in 1928 
seeking to annul the agreement in order that they might clear 
their titles and sell to Negroes. And in Washington, D. C., before 
one case, involving a covenant, could be settled in court, all but 
two or three of the covenanters had yielded to the temptation to 
sell to Negroes. In numbers of cases the covenants have defeated 
their own purpose and have worked a hardship upon the cove- 
nanters as well as their heirs. When there is danger of Negro 
residence in a block formerly occupied exclusively by whites, 
something usually has already occurred, in the character of the 
block, to make it available to Negroes at a price which they can 
pay. It is not always possible to secure the signatures of all white 
residents in the area, and for the greater profit in selling to Ne- 

13 Perkins, A. E., Editor, Who's Who in Colored Louisiana, 1930. 


groes the purpose of the covenant can be violated without involv- 
ing legal penalty. Neighborhoods change, and the heirs find them- 
selves with properties no longer valuable for residence and not 
yet valuable for business; and even though all of them should 
desert the properties, the sites could never be available for Negro 
residences, old or new, whether beside other groups or by them- 
selves. The real opposition to good public policy is apparent when 
the privilege and custom are conceived as applicable over a wide 
area. It would mean that one minority element of the population 
is forever prohibited from living within covenanted territory, 
whatever character this should take in future. The corollary of 
such an arrangement is an intensified ghetto, the character of 
which, similarly, could never change. 

Arguments Advanced in Support of Segregation 

The most direct and usually the most effective argument in 
support of segregation is that Negroes depreciate property values. 
Another frequent argument is that a Negro in a white neighbor- 
hood is a disturbing factor and causes breaches of the public peace 
and race friction. Still another argument is that Negroes are 
happier in their own neighborhoods, where they have their 
churches, business, and other social institutions. Louis B. Wehle, 
in discussing the Louisville case, provides a summary of the most 
common reasons advanced : 14 

"At the trial involving the Louisville ordinance, counsel for the city, with 
a view to establishing that it was a reasonable exercise of the legislative 
police power, introduced evidence that the advent of colored residents in 
white neighborhoods inevitably causes friction, which in some instances has 
resulted in the enforced withdrawal of the Negro family through personal 
threats or wilful destruction of property. Highly reputable evidence was 
introduced to the effect that the arrival of a Negro family in a white resi- 
dence block immediately cuts down actual real estate values in such block 
by from 30 to 60 per cent, . . . Many southerners who have a genuine desire 
to help the Negro contend that his immediate need in cities is to escape those 
frictions which throw him backward and interfere with affirmative remedial 
forces for his improvement ; that the Negro in southern cities has recognized 
this need by voluntary segregation, but that individuals growing in num- 
bers have been led to disregard the present futility and danger of social press- 
ure ; and that the segregation law is the necessary counter-move of the white 

14 Wehle, Louis B., "Isolating the Negro," The New Republic, November 
27, 1915, Vol. 5, pp. 88-89. 


man for preserving peace while he waits to see whether or not the Negro 
may develop in ways which will justify his being given a greater measure 
of political and social freedom. . . . 

"The southerner who argues for city segregation believes that it will 
provide the medium in which the character of the Negro will develop. . . ." 

Arguments Against Segregation 

The principal argument against segregation is that it is uncon- 
stitutional. Moreover, it is the most fruitful source of ghettos, 
deliberately shutting off Negroes, and at times other national or 
racial groups, in the lowest and worst parts of the city and forcing 
them into a helpless association with vice, crime, and inescapable 
unattractiveness and insanitation. Such unfriendly isolation fos- 
ters prejudices which carry over into economic and other social 
relations. It is especially disastrous to the morale of the Negro, 
restricting his hopes for improvement as it restricts his general 

Booker T. Washington, who was not regarded as radical in his 
views on race relations, summarized before his death the argu- 
ments against segregation, and these still remain unaffected by the 
further discussions of the question : 15 

1. It is unjust. 

2. It invites other unjust measures. 

3. It will not be productive of good, because practically every thought- 
ful Negro resents its injustice and doubts its sincerity. Any race adjust- 
ment based on injustice finally defeats itself. The Civil War is the best 
illustration of what results where it is attempted to make wrong right or 
seem to be right. 

4. It is unnecessary. 

5. It is inconsistent. The Negro is segregated from his white neighbor, 
but white business men are not prevented from doing business in Negro 

6. There has been no case of segregation of Negroes in the United States 
that has not widened the breach between the two races. Wherever a form 
of segregation exists it will be found that it has been administered in such 
a way as to embitter the Negro and harm more or less the moral fiber of 
the white man. That the Negro does not express his constant sense of 
wrong is no proof that he does not feel it. 

Most important, from the point of view of this memorandum, 
is the fact that segregation, in being looked upon as a simple pana- 

16 Washington, Booker T., "My Views of Segregation Laws," The New 
Republic, New York, December 4, 1915, Vol. 5, p. 114. 


cea, has kept the Negro-occupied sections of cities throughout the 
country fatally unwholesome places, a menace to the health, 
morals, and general decency of cities, and "plague spots for race 
exploitation, friction and riots." 

Violence and Intimidation 

Negro housing segregation has been enforced by economic neces- 
sity, by law, contract, gentlemen's agreements, and by brute force. 
Where laws and private contracts have failed, mobs have attempted 
to maintain the racial integrity of neighborhoods. In Chicago, 
following the protests and agitation of the Hyde Park Property 
Owners' Association, the homes of 58 Negro families were bombed 
within a period of less than four years. 16 Bombings continued after 
that period, and were later used in other contested local situa- 
tions. In Cleveland, Ohio, in 1924, Negro families were forced 
to abandon their homes in Garfield Heights because "they had 
no right to buy such a nice place." 17 

In Cleveland Heights during the same year handbills were dis- 
tributed carrying this message: 

"Be Sure to Read This. 
Certain niggers have recently blackmailed 

certain residents of the Cleveland 

Heights and other Sections of the City. 

They are now trying to erect a house at 

11114 Wade Park Avenue to Blackmail us. 

But they will not. The residents of the 

Neighborhood will not give one cent to those blackmailers. 

Appoint your committees to oppose and eradicate this 
group of Black Gold Diggers. Let them know we can dup- 
licate riots in Tulsa, St. Louis, Chicago, and 

Shortly afterwards the home of a Negro physician who belonged 
to the City Club of Cleveland and was a member of the staff of a 
general hospital was twice dynamited in the Wade Park section 
of the city. 18 

In Pittsburgh, a wooden cross was burned on the lawn of a 

10 The Chicago Commission on Race Relations, The Negro in Chicago, 
Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1922, p. 122. 

17 The Crisis, November, 1924, Vol. 29, No. 1, p. 20. 

18 The Crisis, February, 1929, Vol. 36, No. 2. 


Negro physician's home, and threats were made to withdraw finan- 
cial support from the Community Chest and Y. M. C. A. if two 
Negro physicians and a Y. M. C. A. secretary were not forced by 
these organizations to move from recently purchased homes. Later, 
a mob of 3,000 white persons attacked the recently built home of 
a Negro post-office employee. In White Plains, New York, a 
cross was burned on the lawn and an attempt made to wreck the 
home of a Negro woman. 19 

There have been bombings of Negro houses in Kansas City, 
Louisville, Baltimore, and clashes in practically every state experi- 
encing a Negro population increase, from Virginia to California. 
Shots were fired into the home of a Negro family in Memphis, 
Tennessee, located in an "exclusive section" in 1929 ; death threats 
were sent and finally the house was burned down. 20 The home 
of a Negro insurance auditor in Denver was demolished in 1926. 
Fifty masked men attempted to frighten a Negro woman from 
her home in Union, New Jersey, by throwing crude bombs and 
burning a fiery cross. 

The most notable as well as most significant case illustrating 
these methods of intimidation was that which occurred in Detroit 
in 1925. The Negro population of that city had grown from 
5,741 in 1910 to 40,838 in 1920 and to 81,831 in 1925. There had 
also been a large increase in the white population. The old Negro 
areas were overrun, and Negroes who were able to purchase 
property elsewhere attempted to move into less crowded terri- 
tory. Where there are houses in a city outside the restricted 
Negro areas, it is expected that these will be occupied by white 
people. One physician had moved into a street occupied by whites. 
When his home was stoned and his family otherwise endangered, 
he moved. Five years later another Negro physician attempted 
to move into a similarly restricted street. A mob surrounded his 
home, and when they attacked it the, Negro fired, killing one man 
and wounding another. The case went to court, attracting much 
attention, and after several months, with the help of able attor- 
neys, he was released. The mob did not know that the former 
occupant of the house for many years had been a Negro of light 
complexion, who had simply been considered white. 

10 The Defender, April 25, 1931, p. 1. 

20 Work, Monroe N., Editor, The Negro Year Book, Tuskegee, Ala., 1931. 


How New Sites Are Acquired 

The process of acquiring new sites under the present restric- 
tions is tedious, hazardous, and frequently humiliating to the Ne- 
groes. This process, which varies but little from city to city, is 
described by Jones : 

"The process is usually begun by individual Negroes residential pioneers 
establishing, or attempting to establish residence in the heart of an 
'exclusively white' neighborhood. There are usually certain white home 
owners in every white section of the city who do not care to retain their 
property at a loss when they cannot secure a good white buyer and when 
Negroes are willing to offer them their price. Many such home owners 
now live outside the city and, hence, have no interest in the efforts to keep 
such communities 'white.' In certain other instances, Negroes who can pass 
for white have subtly purchased homes in the midst of white neighborhoods 
and have moved in before it became known that they were Negroes. Then 
there is the unmarried or widowed white woman who owns property in her 
own name and is out of sympathy with the general tendency to exclude the 
Negro. She, in many instances, defies the prejudice of the members of her 
community and sells her home to some particular colored family. Then, 
again, shrewd white real estate dealers have purposely sold to Negroes 
homes which were on 'exclusive white' streets in order to float new real 
estate projects." 21 

Property Depreciation and Negro Residence 

Most of the discussion of Negro areas centers about the ques- 
tion of property depreciation. It is currently assumed that the 
presence of Negroes depreciates property values. This belief is 
given point by the fact that real estate agents, brokers for loans, 
and investors in real estate generally regard Negro property a bad 
risk. When Negroes move into a block, there frequently follows 
a rapid exodus of white residents who put up their property for 
forced sale and accept the loss as inevitable. It was claimed, for 
example, that the "invasion" of Negroes in the Hyde Park area 
of Chicago resulted in a loss of $200,000,000 to the white property 
owners. The physical aspect of old Negro areas is usually suf- 
ficient to constitute a threat to newer sections. It appears to be 
true that there have been properties which fell off in value when 
Negroes took occupancy ; and this, because of the types of Negroes 
inhabiting the property. Two facts, however, are outstanding in 
the instances of property depreciation observed : 

21 Jones, William Henry, The Housing of Negroes in Washington, D. C., 
Washington, Howard University Press, 1929, pp. 65-66. 


1. That Negroes have been the symptom more often than the cause of 

2. The psychological factor involving opinions regarding desirability, 
precipitous flight, etc., has brought depreciation which had no inherent 
relationship to the actual character and traits of the Negroes. 

In the most common instances of newly acquired neighborhoods, 
as all the studies examined have shown, a higher rental has been 
paid by the Negro newcomers than could be secured from the de- 
parting white occupants. The Chicago Commission on Race Rela- 
tions went perhaps more thoroughly than previous study into this 
question and was able to make certain striking observations. What 
had actually happened in the area of alleged loss of value was that 
houses which had cost original owners $50,000 to $100,000 to 
erect when the neighborhood was fashionable had steadily and 
violently declined in value, after the removal of the first owners 
to newer localities, and this decline had occurred some twenty or 
thirty years before there was even a threat of Negro residence. 
Without such a radical decline these houses could not have been 
purchased by the Negroes, whose level of income carried a neces- 
sary restriction. The original owners in this area had been fol- 
lowed by successive economic and social gradations of white own- 
ers and tenants, until it became impracticable to secure rentals or 
prices comparable with the pretentiousness of the houses. The 
tenants moved to smaller and newer apartments, leaving them va- 
cant. When Negroes first entered the area, agents were offering 
a month's rent free to encourage occupancy; they accepted small 
first payments on purchases and had sold as many as 1,100 to 3,000 
buildings to Negroes who had migrated from the South, before the 
campaign for restriction was begun. 

There had been other factors undermining values which had no 
relation to race. The area was flanked by the stockyards, with 
their obnoxious odors, on one side, and the smoke and grime of a 
large railroad on the other. The automobile industry had preceded 
the Negroes into the section, with its display shops and garages. 
The automobile at the same time had made it feasible for wealthier 
families to live some distance away from the center of the city. 

Again, the wear and tear of the elements had deteriorated the 
dwellings, for most of them were thirty or more years old. Clan- 
destine prostitutes had preceded the Negroes after the breaking 
up of the old red-light district. One Negro home, four times 


bombed, had been purchased from a registered prostitute, and on 
a number of occasions raided before the Negroes invaded the 
area. The study of the Mayor's Interracial Committee of De- 
troit, conducted by the Detroit Bureau of Governmental Research, 
had this to say about real estate values and the Negro : 

"There is a general feeling among the white people of Detroit that the 
Negro penetration of white residential areas causes depreciation in prop- 
erty values. This feeling is in itself a real cause of depreciation when 
property is sold, because of hysteria and without regard to market value. 
If a Negro penetrates into a very exclusive white residential district, there 
may be an effect on property values, as there is a very limited Negro mar- 
ket for high-priced dwellings. If a neighborhood where properties are 
moderately priced is 'invaded,' it is quite possible that real estate values 
will not fall and may even be appreciated by Negro purchase because the 
supply of decent, medium-priced houses for Negroes is smaller than the 

"The general deterioration of congested Negro areas cannot be attributed 
to Negro occupancy. For instance, other factors in the St. Antonio Dis- 
trict, such as the entrance of commercial buildings, factories and garages, 
the concentration of vice resorts, etc., had depreciated the values of houses 
for residential purposes before the Negro moved in. After the entrance 
of the Negro, further depreciation takes place because of the consequent 
overcrowding on account of the effort to pay the rents charged. 

"It is a part of the general movement in Detroit by the more substantial 
colored families to get out of the crowded districts and to secure good homes 
in respectable communities. 

"The first colored family which entered this block did so as an individual 
matter. There is no evidence that this first buyer broke into the com- 
munity with the idea of decreasing property valuation by his presence so 
that others of his race might thereby purchase property in the same neigh- 
borhood at a great advantage. Nor is there any evidence of a collective 
or conscious movement to wedge colored families into this block. The 
first family paid a high price for the property, but as the agent in the 
sale recalled it, he paid 'what was asked' and so got the place rather than 
a white purchaser who tried to bargain. 

"There appears to be no evidence to show that white sellers up to the 
time of the study had lost because Negroes have moved into the block. 
White sellers received their price (although not always their terms), which 
they might have had trouble in getting from white purchasers. In the 
opinion of one of the real estate men, most of the residents on the street 
stood to lose on any transaction because they had bought at peak prices 
and in many instances not only asked their original price but added to it a 
substantial profit. These people could not find white purchasers, but they 
could find colored purchasers. On the other hand, another operator thought 
that the actual value of Harding Avenue property would have reached the 
value assumed by those who tried to sell, merely through the appreciation 


of land and small improvements. He also stated that colored residents en- 
tering a community could not help but depreciate property values. This 
realtor had but one house listed for sale on Harding Avenue, and had never 
done any business on the street previous to this. When these contentions 
are subjected to the Harding Avenue study they both lose weight. If the 
Harding Avenue property was sold at its actual value, then neither party 
lost by the transaction and the colored purchaser merely outbid his white 
competitor. If the presence of colored in a white neighborhood depreciated 
actual property values as the white residents claimed and yet the colored 
purchaser paid the market value asked, apparently the colored buyer was the 
loser and not the former property owner." 22 

It seems clear that social forces, in addition to the impersonal 
physical factors, have much to do with where Negroes shall live, 
and, by virtue of such determination, how they shall live. The 
experience of Negroes, in the mass, indicates quite definitely that 
the community cannot always be trusted to give, unaided by gov- 
ernmental authority, adequate attention to the weaker elements in 
its structure. What is needed by Negroes is not new legislation 
but protection against discriminating interpretations and applica- 
tions of the basic laws now existing. 

22 The Negro in Detroit (Section V, "Housing"), Prepared for the Mayor's 
Interracial Committee, Detroit Bureau of Governmental Research, Inc., 1926. 



This division of the report is concerned with some of the social 
consequences of the type of housing provided for the Negro popu- 
lation, or which this population has been able to provide for itself. 
The data have been, in large part, assembled by a special 
group of which T. Arnold Hill of the National Urban League 
was chairman, and are supported by a special report which consti- 
tutes Appendix II, p. 143. 

At least three types of social pathology have been observed to 
have a high and inescapable correlation with the character of 
Negro residence areas. These are: 

(1) A high rate of delinquency, 

(2) A high rate of mortality, and 

(3) A distorted standard of living. 

Neighborhoods and Delinquency x 

Volume II of the Report on the Causes of Crime, by the Na- 
tional Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement, 2 de- 
voted much space to the consideration of neighborhoods and 
their relation to the delinquency rate of boys. An analysis of the 
delinquency areas as plotted on the map of Chicago reveals sev- 
eral pertinent points : 

1. There is a high percentage of delinquency in many of the areas where 
Negroes form more than 10 per cent of the population; but the percentage 
is no higher than that of the "back of the yards" district where almost no 
Negroes live, but where the same conditions of low wages, poor housing 
and overcrowding exist in the white population. 

2. The percentage of delinquency decreases progressively as one's eye 
moves south from 31st Street into the district of better Negro homes. The 
percentage runs as follows in the area bounded on the west by State Street 
and on the south by Cottage Grove Avenue (the so-called black belt) : 

1 For a more complete treatment of the subject of delinquency and hous- 
ing, see special report prepared by Earl R. Moses, Director of Research, 
Chicago Urban League. Appendix II, p. 143. 

2 Report on the Causes of Crime, Washington, Government Printing Office, 
1931, Vol. II, Ch. 2, pp. 23-59. 


Table III. Delinquency in Selected Areas, Chicago 

Per cent Per cent Negro to 

Area delinquency total population 

22nd to 31st Streets 157 49 

31st to 39th Streets 15.1 71 

39th to 47th Streets 8.8 34 

47th to 55th Streets 3.5 17 

(This table is based on Juvenile Court appearances) 

3. In the outlying sections where the Negroes are chiefly home owners, 
the percentage of delinquency is about as low as for similar sections where 
there are no Negroes, and lower than contiguous sections with a relatively 
high per cent of foreign born as compared with native whites, and where 
practically no Negroes live. In the Morgan Park area where 47.4 per 
cent 8 of the Negro residents owned their homes, the delinquency rate com- 
pares favorably with that of predominantly native white areas. 

4. The "vice section" includes the northerly and most densely concen- 
trated third of the "black belt." 

5. Approximately one-third of the "black belt" is in the "zone in transi- 

The zone in transition in the natural process of city expansion 
is described by E. W. Burgess : 

"Surrounding the Central Business District are areas of residential de- 
terioration caused by the encroaching of business and industry from Zone 
I" (the central business district). "This may therefore be called a Zone in 
Transition, with a factory district for its inner belt and an outer ring of 
retrogressing neighborhoods, of first-settlement immigrant colonies, of 
rooming-house districts, of homeless-men areas, of resorts of gambling, boot- 
legging, sexual vice, and of breeding-places of crime. In this area of phys- 
ical deterioration and social disorganization our studies show the greatest 
concentration of cases of poverty, bad housing, juvenile delinquency, family 
disintegration, physical and mental disease. As families and individuals 
prosper, they escape from this area into Zone III" (one of workingmen's 
homes) "beyond, leaving behind as marooned a residuum of the defeated, 
leaderless, and helpless." 4 

The last sentence calls for further analysis, so far as Negroes 
are concerned. The escape into Zone 3 beyond, in the first place, 
must to a great degree depend on improvement of economic 

8 Woofter, T. J. Jr. and Associates, Negro Problems in Cities, Garden City, 
N. Y., Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., 1928. Census data of 1930. 

* Burgess, Ernest W., "Urban Areas," Chicago An Experiment in Social 
Science Research, (edited by T. V. Smith and L. P. White), Chicago, Uni- 
versity of Chicago Press, 1929, pp. 114-116. 


status. There are doubtless many Negroes who are indifferent 
to such surroundings as those described above; there are some 
also who prefer such environment because it fits into their scheme 
of life ; but there are many others who must remain solely because 
trieir low incomes compel them to. The Italian laborer who lands 
in Zone 2 on his arrival from Italy may or may not remain a 
strongback for the rest of his life, but it is a safe bet that his son 
will not be a strongback. He may become a racketeer, a skilled 
artisan, a bond salesman, or a bootblack. The Negro laborer from 
Georgia is pretty likely to remain a strongback until he is too old, 
and further than that his son has a good chance at only one of the 
vocations listed for the Italian boy, the last named. Or he may 
follow his father if, by the time he has grown up, the Mexicans 
have not preempted the laboring jobs. 

Granted, however, that the Negro's economic status permits 
him to move on into Zone 3, vice follows him, at least in Chicago. 

"The records of convictions in the morals court and the evidence of the 
Committee of Fifteen show the gradual drift of prostitution southward co- 
incidentally with the expansions of the main area of Negro residence. 

"Between 1916 and 1918 houses of prostitution decreased from forty-eight 
to twenty-five in number in the territory between 12th and 22d Streets and 
from 130 to 107 between 12th and 31st Streets. Between 31st and 35th 
Streets the number had slightly increased, while there was an increase of 
nearly 80 per cent between 35th and 39th Streets. In the combined dis- 
tricts between 31st and 39th Streets, the number increased from sixty- 
two to eighty-four; and between 39th and 55th Streets the increase was 
from eleven to fifty-four. . . . Further evidence of this movement of vicious 
resorts, and an abnormally large number of them, into the Negro areas 
was obtained from the state's attorney's office, the Commission's investiga- 
tors, and from confidential reports submitted by other organizations. Most 
of these places are maintained by white persons, because in this district there 
is less likelihood of effective interference, either from citizens or public 
authorities." B 

But even a real improvement in economic conditions does not 
open to the Negro family the same opportunity for moving into 
a better house and a better community environment, leaving out 
of the question the habit of the vicious element to seek proximity 
to it. It has been shown elsewhere in this work that the move- 
ment of Negroes into a new neighborhood (for them) is often 
met with hostility and not a few times with violence. 

5 The Chicago Commission on Race Relations, The Negro in Chicago, 
Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1922, p. 344. 


The Negro area may expand, the expansion accompanied by 
rent raising as well as by opposition in many cases, but the Negro 
area must still remain Negro. The family of the immigrant, his 
financial status improved, may lose itself, especially in the second 
generation. It has become Americanized, and an attempt to im- 
prove its status is seldom frowned on. The Negro family that 
moves into a new quarter as often as not has its urge for better- 
ment characterized as a desire to get away from its race or to 
"horn in where it is not wanted." As a matter of fact, the Negro 
has learned that there are very few places where he is wanted. 
Even in the humblest parts of Zone 2, he is often unwelcome. 
The Chicago Negro of the fourth generation is just as easily 
identified "as a Negro" by people who do not wish to live near 
Negroes as is the Negro just from the canebrakes. The second 
or third generation Irishman or Pole is simply an American citizen 
who is judged and classified by his neighbors according to his ap- 
parent financial standing and his behavior, like any other Ameri- 
can. It is not at all strange, in the light of his low economic status 
and the social pressure of the group outside both taken together, 
that Dr. Paul F. Cressey finds that "the Negroes present a strik- 
ing contrast to the increasing dispersion of the European im- 
migrant groups in Chicago, for they have become more highly con- 
centrated during the past twenty-two years. As the number of 
Negroes in the city has increased, fewer Negroes have lived scat- 
tered through predominantly white areas, and the greater has 
become their concentration in specific Negro communities." 6 So, 
aside from the tendency toward delinquency which seems to ac- 
company overcrowded areas, the Negro communities would be 
expected to show a higher delinquency rate than similar white 
communities because, whereas the Negroes are concentrated, the 
Negro delinquent may be diffused throughout the Negro districts. 
On the other hand, though the foreign born and the youth of 
foreign-born parents contribute more than their share to the total 
of white delinquent boys, these foreign whites tend to be concen- 
trated in districts, so keeping down the delinquency rate of other 
white districts. Vice, at least open vice, does not follow the for- 
eigner moving into Zone 3. 

The foreign born's neighborhood is socially more or less self- 

6 Cressey, Paul F., The Succession of Cultural Groups. Ph.D. Thesis, 
University of Chicago. 1930. 


contained, but there is comparatively little social separation as 
between the Negro old settler and the new arrival from the South, 
for, however great the cultural difference may be in individual 
cases, the difference in economic status is hardly noticeable. Be- 
sides, the Negro in this country has been so conditioned as to 
recognize kinship. The newly arrived Negro immigrant from the 
South has no feeling of inferiority, however different his back- 
ground from that of the Negro native. The common language 
and the tendency for the average white man to consider the simi- 
larity of all Negroes to extend from color and to embrace every 
other personal characteristic, combined with the larger factors 
already mentioned, tend to make the Negro community appear 
homogeneous when it is not. The greatest leveler, of course, is 
economic status. This tendency toward democracy in Negro com- 
munities has many points to commend it, but the fact remains that 
it tends to put the Negro group in a questionable position when 
social statistics are presented. 

The Chicago Commission's report goes on to show that the zone 
in transition with its successive groups of unassimilated people 
tends to maintain a remarkably constant rate of delinquency. As 
the foreign born or their offspring absorb American customs and 
the standards of urban life, all except the most shiftless move into 
the next zones, while a new group of unassimilated people come 
in. With the movements into more socially healthful communities 
where neighborhood influences are both stronger and better, the 
delinquency rate drops. There does not appear to be an increase, 
in the rate with the advent of the newcomers first, because they 
represent the most adaptable of the original transitional area 
group; and secondly, because there is pressure both from within 
and without to mould them into the traditions of the new neigh- 
borhoods. The same processes are true for Negroes, but what we 
have tried to show is that their operation is modified in the case 
of Negroes by the following factors : 

1. Low income keeps a larger proportion of Negroes in the area in 
transition, probably against the will of a large number of them. 

2. The evil social environment often follows the Negroes uninvited into 
the new neighborhood, and vicious environment is more likely to be dif- 
fused throughout the Negro area of workingmen's homes than of white 
workingmen's homes. 

3. There is a persistent (even when unorganized) pressure to keep 
enterprising Negroes out of desirable neighborhoods other than the recog- 
nized Negro section, which results in overcrowding of that section, with 


an attendant lack of family privacy, and which makes statistical differentia- 
tion difficult. 

What we mean by "differentiation" is illustrated in the words of 
E. Franklin Frazier. He is speaking of Chicago also : 

"Juvenile delinquency is not the result only of the breakdown of family 
control. It is a part of the general dissolution of community life in the urban 
environment. In the cities for which statistics are available Negroes con- 
tribute much more than their share of the cases of juvenile delinquency and 
Chicago is not an exception to the general situation. In 1920 about a fifth of 
the delinquent boys brought before the juvenile court were Negroes. The 
proportion of Negro cases has been increasing rapidly during recent years. 
This increase has been associated with the fact that Negroes have been 
moving into those areas which have long been characterized by a high 
rate of delinquency although the racial composition of the area has changed 
several times. There were considerable variations in the rates of juvenile 
delinquency in the Negro community. In the areas where the poorer 
migrants settled and both family and community life were dissolving under 
the influence of urban life, about 40 per cent of the boys were arrested for 
delinquency. The rate did not show any marked change until one came to 
the better sections of the community, which were distinguished by more 
stable family life and some sort of community organization. ... In the area 
of the community which showed considerable concentration of the higher 
occupational classes, a high percentage of home ownership, and other signs 
of stable family and community life, juvenile delinquency was almost entirely 
absent." 7 

Mortality and Negro Housing 

We may begin by saying that Negro death rates are nearly 
twice as high as the white ; that they are higher in the North than 
in the South; that they are higher in cities than in the country; 
that the disparity between Negro urban and rural rates is over 
two and one-half times greater than that between white urban and 
rural rates; that Negro urban death rates are highest in the 
South. The diseases which, authorities agree, are due largely 
to unfavorable sanitary conditions and low economic status, show 
at present the greatest disparity between Negro and white rates. 
These are pulmonary tuberculosis, typhoid, malaria, pellagra and 
puerperal conditions. Tuberculosis is six times as high among 
Negro boys and girls as among white boys and girls. 8 

The Children's Bureau 9 in a study of infant mortality records 

7 Frazier, E. Franklin, "Family Disorganization Among Negroes," Op- 
portunity, July, 1931, Vol. 9, p. 207. 

8 Memorandum on Negro Health, Department of Social Science, Fisk 
University, Nashville, Tenn. 

9 Woodbury, Robert M., Causal Factors in Infant Mortality, Washington, 
U. S. Children's Bureau, Bulletin 142, 1925. 


found that the rate fluctuated significantly with the factors of 
rentals and congestion. Woofter 10 correlated Negro death rates 
from tuberculosis with congestion in New York City, and got a 
Pearsonian correlation coefficient of + .809. The Women's City 
Club of Louisville, investigating the incidence of tuberculosis, 
listed 300 dwellings in which there had been two or more deaths. 
A serious defect in lighting or ventilation was discovered in all. 
Deaths from tuberculosis in old and new law apartments in New 
York averaged 10.3 per 1,000 for the old and 6.5 per 1,000 for 
the new. 

The most frequent explanation of the high Negro mortality has 
been a racial susceptibility to tuberculosis and the stress of the 
urban environment. This does not explain differences in mor- 
tality among Negroes in different circumstances. W. H. Jones, 11 
in Washington, has provided figures which have a most significant 
bearing upon housing. The mortality of Negroes from four lead- 
ing diseases is from one and a half to four times as great in the 
alley dwellings as on the streets. Important differences are 
observed between rates of mortality for such whites as live in 
alleys and on streets. Moreover, death rates for Negroes on 
streets in a number of instances were less than the rates for 
whites living in alleys. The gross differences in the racial mor- 
tality are helped by the fact that there were 331 white persons 
living in alleys and 12,867 Negroes. 

Living Standards 

The first striking observation regarding Negro living expendi- 
tures is that they are required to spend a larger proportion of their 
income for rent than other groups. This may be attributed to the 
same causes that require them to pay, as a rule, more for the same 
kind of housing than other persons. The Negro's standard of 
comfort tends, in general, to be like that of the native white peo- 
ple with whom he conies in contact. The urban Negro, at least, 
has adopted, as far as possible, the standards of comfort of the 
American people in general, and the rural migrant to the city 
quickly falls in line. This process of "Americanizing" Negroes 
has been facilitated since slavery days by the employment of a 
large proportion of them in domestic service. The Negro, then, 

10 Woofter, T. J. Jr. and Associates, Negro Problems in Cities, Garden 
City, N. Y., Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., 1928. 

11 Jones, William Henry, The Housing of Negroes in Washington, D. C., 
Washington, Howard University Press, 1929. 


is likely to be as "100 per cent American" in his standards of 
comfort as his income will allow him to be. His actual scale of 
comfort, also, is likely to be as high, for too often he cannot see 
an advantage in postponing the satisfaction of his desires. His 
chances for advancement do not encourage thrift, and no vision 
of the ascent from poor boy to third vice-president or of a junior 
partnership inspires him to wait. So if he wishes a better apart- 
ment he may pay a rent out of all proportion to his wage and 
make up the difference by taking in lodgers. He is enjoying some 
of the comforts which are always being brought to his attention 
even if he has to share them with outsiders. Such a person would 
think it better to have a bathtub and share it with a lodger or 
two now, than to do without it all his life. 

The following paragraph illustrates a slightly different view 
of the same situation, the difficulties facing the Negro worker 
seeking to maintain a decent standard of living: 

"The fact . . . that the Negro is the last hired and the first fired, has 
an important bearing on the situation. When asked why Negroes are thus 
treated, the employer is likely to give as his reason that the colored worker 
can best stand it. Apparently the notion that the Negro can adapt himself 
better is based on the fact that he will more quickly take in lodgers than 
whites and more generally permit the number of occupants per room to 
grow beyond reasonable limits. This may merely mean that the standards 
of living to which Negroes are subjected are already so low that unem- 
ployment forces emergency measures upon them faster than upon those 
groups that have other resources to fall back upon." M 

In other words, the Negro can stand such conditions as he can 
stand hot and heavy work, because he can get no better. A great 
deal of evidence from different sources has been gathered to show 
that the Negro pays a higher proportion of his income for rent 
than do other people. In some cases, it may be due primarily to 
the generally low income of Negroes because of occupational 
status; in others, it may be due primarily to the exploitation of 
Negroes due to restriction of Negroes to certain residential areas ; 
in still others, the desire for improved housing might outweigh 
consideration of cost. In most cases, however, we believe all 
these causative factors are present in varying degrees. A recent 
study by Dr. Houghteling 13 in Chicago emphasizes the first of 
these reasons, that is, low income due to low occupational status. 

^Feldman, Herman, Racial Factors in American Industry, New York, 
Harper and Brothers, 1931, p. 69. 

13 Houghteling, Leila, The Income and Standard of Living of Unskilled 
Laborers in Chicago, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1927. 



Dr. Houghteling's study is especially significant in a considera- 
tion of income and expenses because, 

1. It is a study of unskilled wage earners, in which occupational classes 
such a large proportion of Negroes are found. 

2. There was no attempt in gathering the information to get any propor- 
tion of Negro to white families, so that for comparison we have a "natural" 
and not an artificial control group. 

3. The cases finally selected excluded men who had been employed for less 
than a year at the particular establishment, men who had been unemployed 
during the past year, and single men, as well as married men who did not 
have a child under fourteen years old. 

4. Widows as heads of families are excluded. 

5. Only heads of families for which accurate figures for a year's earnings 
could be secured from the employer, were included. 

The following table is adapted from the work cited: 

Table IV. 

Earnings of Chief Wage Earners Classified by Race ; Cumu- 
lative Percentages (80 Negro, 343 White) 

Earnings of Chief 
Wage Earners 

Cumulative Percentages 




Less than $ 900 




Less than 1 , 000 

Less than 1 , 100 ... 

Less than 1 200 

Less than 1 , 300 

Less than 1,400 

Less than 1 , 500 .... 

Less than 1 , 600 . 

Less than 1 , 700 

Less than 1 , 800 

Less than 1 , 900 

Less than 2 , 000 

Less than 2 , 100 

Less than 2 200 

Less than 2,300 

Less than 2 , 400 .... 

Thus, half of the Negro chief wage earners receive less than 
$1,200 a year as compared to approximately 20 per cent of the 
white chief wage earners. (All the chief wage earners were 


males, married, and having at least one child under fourteen.) 
Six per cent of the white chief wage earners earned more than 
$1,800, but none of the Negro. 

Speaking specifically of the relation of rent to income in the 
white and Negro families, Dr. Houghteling says : 14 

"Taking the group as a whole, nearly one-half spent between 10 and 20 
per cent of the father's earnings for rent ; a little over one-fourth spent be- 
tween 20 and 30 per cent for rent. . . . More than 80 per cent of the 
colored families spent 20 per cent or more of the earnings of the chief 
wage earners for rent, while among the white families only 30 per cent 
paid that large a proportion." 

The two following tables adapted from the same study are il- 
luminating. The family fund includes income from lodgers, work- 
ing mothers and children, investments, and all other sources : 

Table V. 







Per Cent of Earnings 

of Chief Wage Earner 




Spent for Rent* 
















Total Reported 







Less than 10 


8 3 


11 1 



48 8 


58 9 


18 7 



27 6 


24 4 


37 3 

30-39 . . 


8 3 


3 5 


22 6 







10 7 

50 and over 







* Houghteling, Leila, The Income and Standard of Living of Unskilled 
Laborers in Chicago, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1927, p. 113. 

It is a striking fact that although 1 1 per cent of the white heads 
of families and 23 per cent of the white families fall in the less 
than 10 per cent group, there are no Negroes under the 10 per 
cent level in either table; and whereas the proportion of whites 
in the highest percentage for rent class is less than one per cent, 

u lbid. f p. 112. 



10 per cent of Negro chief wage earners and 
Negro families are in that class. 

Table VI. 

per cent of 







Per Cent of 

Family Fund 
Spent for Rent* 

















Total Reported 







Less than 10 




23 2 





57 5 


31 4 



21 6 


16 1 


38 7 















* Houghteling, Leila, The Income and Standard of Living of Unskilled 
Laborers in Chicago, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1927, p. 113. 

Pittsburgh: Two studies 15 made in the same year, 1929 (one 
in the late winter and early spring and the other in midsummer), 
permit a check on rental and income in the Hill District of Pitts- 

Table VII. Income and Rental, Hill District, Pittsburgh. 

Hall Reid 

Average weekly family income $32.02 $29.10 

Average weekly wage, male head of family 27.09 27.24 

Median weekly wage 31.00 31.80 

Median monthly rent 38.00 36.70 

Average monthly rent 32.76 

Percentage of families having lodgers 33.34 35.00 

Per cent of total family income for rent (average) 24.4 38.1 

Estimate of People's Savings Trust Co. for city as a whole. 


15 Hall, Wiley A., Negro Housing and Rents in the Hill District of Pitts- 
burgh, (M. A. Thesis) University of Pittsburgh, 1929. (Unpublished.) 

Reid, Ira De A., Social Conditions of the Negro in the Hill District of 
Pittsburgh, General Committee on the Hill Survey, Pittsburgh (National 
Urban League), 1930. 


As to rent and income, Mr. Hall reports that 24.4 per cent of 
the total family income (which includes the contribution of one 
lodger to every three families) went for rent. It is to be noted 
also in this connection that in the great majority of these dwellings 
heat is not supplied by the landlord. In his study, Mr. Reid points 
out that in one-fourth of the families the mother also worked 
away from home ; yet, he adds, in only 23 per cent of the families 
was the income for one week greater than the monthly rent. 

Students of family income and expenditures generally set the 
reasonable proportion of the family income to be spent for rent 
at 20 per cent or less. A study of small-wage earners in Chicago 16 
found the following proportions of families in three racial groups 
paying out more than 20 per cent of their incomes for rent : Mexi- 
can, 22.9 per cent ; other foreign-born white, 34.6 per cent ; Negro, 
77.2 per cent. The author says that these figures were based on 
monthly earnings "of the previous month, when unemployment 
had been less severe than it had been in the six months preceding 
the presidential election." 

The following figures also for Chicago are adapted from data 
obtained in 1921 : 17 

"The remaining 179 cases out of the 274 provided data from which the 
following facts are presented : In three instances the rent exceeded the in- 
come of the head of the family ; in thirty-one instances the rent equaled one- 
half the income of the head of the family, and in an equal number it amounted 
to one-third. In one case the rent was equal to three-fourths of the income, 
and in twenty-three cases the rent equaled one-fourth. Thus eighty-nine in- 
stances were disclosed in which the rent was in excess of one-fifth of the 
income of the head of the family. In most of these cases, particularly the 
extreme ones, the income of the head of the family was greatly supplemented 
by money received from lodgers or from earnings of other members of the 

"The remaining ninety families in which the rent amounted to one-fifth 
or less of the income of the head of the family were divided as follows : 
Twenty-four fell in the one-fifth column, twenty-seven in the one-sixth 
column, fourteen in the one-seventh column, eleven in the one-eighth column, 
while fourteen were in the 'low' column. The last named included those 
ranging from one-ninth to one-twenty-third." 

A few conclusions from studies of other cities tend to establish 
as a fact that whether in relation to the total family income or the 

16 Hughes, Elizabeth A., Living Conditions for Small-Wage Earners in 
Chicago, Bureau of Social Surveys, Chicago Department of Public Wel- 
fare, 1925. 

"The Chicago Commission on Race Relations, The Negro in Chicago, 
Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1922. 


wage of the chief wage earner, the Negro's rent runs well over 
20 per cent of his budget. 

Detroit: "The weighted mean monthly rent for 91 families was 
$47.29. . . . The average amount of rent paid monthly is approximately 
equal to one-third of the average monthly wage." 18 

"The group of Negro families in West Harlem, in all the income levels, 
shows higher actual rentals and higher percentage of income used for rent 
than any other section of the city. Where other families in the city pay 
about one-sixth of their income for rent, these colored families pay nearly 
one-third. And although the income of the Negro family is about 17 per 
cent lower than that of the typical family for the entire city, it must pay 
almost three dollars more per room per month. In West Harlem, also, the 
percentage of families having two or more persons per room is somewhat 
higher than elsewhere (10 per cent rather than 8^2 per cent), and the per- 
centage of families having more than one and less than two persons per 
room is correspondingly lower." M 

Comparison : 19 

Table VIII. Income and Rental, New York. 

Annual income 

Typical Family 
Entire City 

.... $1 570.00 

Typical Family 
West Harlem 

$1,300 00 

Annual rent .... 



Rent per room per month 



Per cent of income used for rent 



It is also the purpose of the study to obtain statements of the 
earnings per month of households. These statements were not 
restricted to the earnings of the heads of families, but included 
the supplementary earnings of children and earnings obtained 
through lodgers and otherwise. Frequently the amount of earn- 
ings in a household could not be accurately stated because many of 
the men were doing odd jobs and casual labor. Table IX, below, 
shows the relationship of monthly earnings to the amount of 
monthly rental. It is customarily accepted that at least one-fifth 
of the income should go for shelter. In studying the Negro 
family it would be impossible to give an accurate basis for 

18 The Negro in Detroit (Section V, "Housing"), Prepared for the Mayor's 
Interracial Committee, Detroit Bureau of Governmental Research, Inc., 1926. 
( Mimeographed. ) 

19 Batchelor, Carey, What the Tenement Family Has and What It Pays 
for It, New York, United Neighborhood Houses, 1928. (Unpublished.) 


monthly earnings unless supplementary incomes were added. 
Even so, the proportion paying 20 per cent or more of their in- 
come for rent is twenty times greater than the group paying less 
than 20 per cent for shelter. It is not to be doubted that those 
paying less than 20 per cent of their earnings in rent could afford 
to live in better houses were they available. The houses in the 
first group are of the less desirable nature old, dark, unsanitary, 
and possibly too costly at any rental. The significant thing in the 
community is that apparently the small-wage-earning Negro's 
family is compelled to dwell in a house for which it pays more 
than it can afford on the one hand while the houses occupied are 
too costly for the returns the tenant receives. 

Table IX. Per Cent Reporting Whose Rental is Specified 
Per Cent of Monthly Earnings 

Total, 2,326 Total reporting, 2,160 Not reporting, 166 

Per cent Number 

10 per cent and less than 20 per cent 4.7 102 

20 per cent and less than 30 per cent 21 444 

30 per cent and less than 40 per cent 26 570 

More than 40 per cent 48 1,044 

The amount that can be apportioned to rent is obviously affected 
by the size of the income as well as the amount of rental. It was 
possible to obtain statements of the aggregate earnings in one 
month in 1,316 families. How representative these earnings may 
be for the other eleven months may only be conjectures. As the 
employment is more or less varied and not governed by any one 
industry, women workers would not be affected more than men 
in the several industries. 

The following table shows the proportions reporting specified 
earnings in a given month : 

Table X. Per Cent of 1,316 Families Reporting Earnings 
of Specified Amounts in One Month 

Less Less Less Less Less Less $200 

than than than than than than or 

$75 $100 $125 $150 $175 $200 more 

Families in each class 209 480 457 127 28 11 4 

Per cent of total in each class 15.8 36.7 34.7 9.6 2.1 .9 .3 

Cumulative per cent total... 15.8 52.5 87.2 96.8 98.8 99.7100. 



Paying high rental is clearly out of the question for the majority 
of these families, yet on May 2, 1927, one wage earner brings a 
notice from his landlord to the effect that on and after June 1, 
1927, rents in the apartment house where he lives will be raised as 
follows : 

4 rooms from $50 to $90. 

5 rooms from $60 to $100. 

6 rooms from $70 to $120. 

Eighty-seven per cent of the families should not pay more than 
$30 per month for rent. Less than a third of the families, on the 
basis of one-fifth of their incomes apportioned to rent, could 
afford rentals above $40 to $45 a month. In 18 per cent of the 
1,316 families, fathers were the sole bread-winners. Mothers and 
wives were employed in 63 per cent of the families studied ; two 
per cent had no wives or mothers ; in 35 per cent the women were 
not gainfully employed. This does not include the keeping of 
lodgers. 20 

Data gathered very recently in Elizabeth, New Jersey, a small 
eastern industrial city, from 210 Negro families give the relation 
of rent to family income. 21 

Table XI. Relation of Rent to Family Income, 210 Negro 
Families, Elizabeth, N. J. 

Proportion of family incomes 
spent for rent 
Less than 15 per cent 

Number of 

Per cent 


15 to 19 per cent 




20 to 24 per cent . . 




25 to 29 per cent 




30 to 34 per cent 




35 to 39 per cent 




40 to 44 per cent 




45 to 49 per cent 




50 and over . .... 




In one-third of these families the total family income included 
wages of working wives and rent collected from lodgers. . 

20 Reid, Ira De A., Twenty-four Hundred Negro Families in Harlem, New 
York, New York Urban League, 1927. 

21 Reid, Ira De A., The Negro Population of Elisabeth, New Jersey, Eliza- 
beth Interracial Committee, 1930. (Unpublished.) 


An analysis of the family life of two hundred Negro families 
in Newark, New Jersey, 22 is interpretive of the conditions pre- 
viously mentioned in this section. This special analysis was made 
possible by the New Jersey Conference of Social Work, which 
organization is conducting a study of the social and economic 
problems of Negroes in New Jersey. The two hundred families 
covered in this section represent a sample of families interviewed 
by investigators in Newark, New Jersey, during June, 1931. 

This material on Negro family life distinctly differs from 
sample studies usually presented as interpreting problems of 
Negro family life from one point of view, at least, in that it 
mirrors the status of the families of marginal workers during a 
period of prolonged unemployment and industrial depression. 
Detailed analysis of the several factors involved are given in the 
tables presented in this section. 

These families reside in the third and fourth wards of Newark, 
areas known as zones in transition, representing to a great extent 
the least desirable residential section of the city. Significant is 
the fact that while 62 per cent of these families have lived in 
Newark five years or less, 80 per cent of them have lived in their 
present quarters for five years or less. 

The total persons included in these families were 1,081, the 
median size household being five persons. Of this number 515 
were under sixteen years of age. These homes were relatively 
free from lodgers and relatives. There was one lodger in every 
eight families, while only one family in every four had relatives 
residing within its abode. Heads of a few families stated that 
they formerly had lodgers but had lost them when unemployment 
forced them to seek work elsewhere. Thus, the median size 
family was rather high. (4.7 persons.) The distribution of these 
families on the basis of their composition is as follows : 

Table XII. Composition of Families, Newark. 

Total families 200 

Families without lodgers or relatives 127 

Families with lodgers 27 

Families with relatives 41 

Families with relatives and lodgers 5 

22 By Ira De A. Reid, Director of Research, National Urban League. 


The adult portion of these families those sixteen years of 
age and over is chiefly southern born. In fact 83 per cent of all 
the adult persons were born in the following states: Alabama, 
Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Only 4 
per cent were New Jersey born. On the other hand, three-fourths 
of the population under sixteen were born in Newark, while less 
than 1 per cent of the remaining fourth were born in the North. 

These families live in single- or two-family houses; the con- 
struction may be brick (in need of painting) or frame (in need 
of painting). The general environmental conditions are those to 
be found in any community where the municipality has seen due 
cause for condemning structures as unfit for habitation. Con- 
demnation and demolition of houses have been under way in this 
section of Newark. In fact houses occupied by 11 families in- 
cluded in this analysis have been officially condemned. 

In the main these houses are lacking in modern conveniences. 
Less than half of the families (86) have baths. In 59 houses the 
water-closets were either in the hall or in the yard. In 51 houses 
there was no electric light. In 39 houses there were one or more 
windowless bedrooms. Yet, the ratio of persons to rooms (1 to 6 
persons per room exclusive of kitchens and baths) was not indica- 
tive of overcrowding. 

What might be called the "type" family of this group lives in a 
four-room frame house for which it pays $5.88 weekly or $25.58 
monthly. But 37 families reported being from one to six months 
in arrears with their rent. This fact points to one of the pertinent 
factors in the whole situation unemployment. 

Sixty per cent of the employable persons 23 in these families 
were unemployed at the time of this analysis. Of 457 (261 male, 
196 female) employable persons, only 180 (126 male, 54 female) 
were employed. Of 164 employed persons for whom data were 
available, 112 were employed on part-time jobs only. In 96 fam- 
ilies there was no wage income during the first three weeks of 
June, 1931. 

The median weekly wage for the 102 remaining families for 
which data were available was $13.33. With a wage economy 
offering little financial adjustment it became necessary for fam- 

23 An employable person is herein described as a person fifteen years of 
age and over, physically and mentally fit, who has previously been engaged 

o+- e/"\f-n<a rf-n r rt5-r\o i f</-k-i 

at some occupation. 


ilies to seek supplementary income. This was had by 133 families 
and averaged $5.54 weekly. However, there remained 62 fam- 
ilies having no money income of any kind. The chief methods of 
supplementing family incomes were public and private outdoor 

Table XIII. Source of Income Other Than Earnings of 

Members of the Family for 140 Families, Newark, 

New Jersey. 

Source of Income Distribution 

1. Lodgers and boarders 27 

2. Allowance from city 47 

3. Widows' pension 4 

4. Other pensions 5 

5. Contributions, relatives * or friends 5 

6. Aid from charity organizations 20 

7. Miscellaneous and not stated 8 

8. Policy writing commission 4 


Sources 2 and 6 6 

Sources 2 and 5 2 

Sources 1 and 6 3 

Sources 1 and 5 3 

Sources 1 and 2 3 

Sources 1 and 7 

Sources 2 and 7 1 

Sources 2 and 3 1 


* Nonresident. 

Some Social Implications of High Rents and Low Wages 

High rents and low wages mean working mothers. 

"From a total of eighty-seven Negro families, forty-one mothers or 47.1 
per cent worked in comparison with sixty-seven white mothers, 17.8 per 
cent of the 377 white families reported on." 2 * 

Of these forty-one women, the report shows further that twenty 
were engaged in day work or housework and eight were laundry 

High rent and low wages necessitate lodgers. Fourteen and 
seven-tenths per cent of the white families and 50.6 per cent of 
the Negro families in Dr. Houghteling's study had lodgers. She 

24 Reid, Ira De A., The Negro Population of Elisabeth, New Jersey, Eliza- 
beth Interracial Committee, 1930. Unpublished. 










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"This difference is not surprising as the earnings of the Negroes have 
been shown to be so much lower than those of the white laborers that addi- 
tional sources of income would naturally be necessary. Moreover, the fact 
that Negroes are charged a proportionately higher rent than white people 
often necessitates the renting of rooms in order to meet the high rent." 

High rents and low wages along with segregation necessitate 

General Observations on Social and Economic Factors 25 

Though considerable thought has been given by civic associa- 
tions and racial groups to the universally poor housing condi- 
tions among Negroes, the wage-earning group has benefited little 
from the few housing projects that have come to pass. The most 
significant newer projects have not been for those who suffer most 
from the ills of poor tenements, unwholesome neighborhoods, high 
rents and exploitation by unscrupulous promoters. On the con- 
trary, whether for renters or owners, they have been set up for 
those occupying the highest income level in the race. 

Better housing has come not as the result of planning but of 
necessity, due to the need for more area for growing Negro popu- 
lations. It was then that Negro tenants and home owners braved 
intimidation from whites and moved into neighborhoods formerly 
housing only whites. Riots and bloodshed frequently followed, 
but the pioneers stayed until others followed and then the area 
gradually was conceded to Negro occupancy. It is significant that 
housing developments for Negroes did not lead the way into better 
neighborhoods, but they took form only after the neighborhood 
had been established as a Negro district. 

Thus the bulk of Negroes still live where health standards 
are hardest to maintain, where juvenile delinquency shows highest 
ratio, where vice goes unchecked, and where rents are far in 
excess of value and ability of occupants to meet them. 

Home ownership among Negroes is increasing despite the diffi- 
culties of financing and the high interest rate paid for second 
mortgages. Not infrequently does the second mortgage run to 
20 per cent. With urban population growing in all cities in which 
Negroes live, frequently at a ratio greater than that of whites, 
as for instance Chicago, Buffalo, etc., financing homes becomes 

25 Prepared by the Group on Social and Economic Factors in Negro 
Housing, T. Arnold Hill, Chairman. 


one of the important problems faced by Negroes in all parts of the 

A chief source of revenue for both renters and home buyers is 
lodgers. The extent to which morals and health are jeopardized 
by the promiscuous taking in of roomers has been well established 
by many studies. This is one of the principal evils in Negro hous- 
ing, and the failure to remedy it the principal defect in the vast 
majority of projects constructed for Negro occupancy. 

Though the number of homes owned by members of the race 
has grown steadily, the number of new homes occupied by them 
has been infinitesimal. In the South and North they have oc- 
cupied houses vacated by whites after the neighborhood has 
changed physical complexion through a series of deteriorating 
steps. New construction has for the most part been confined to 
apartment buildings with a few notable exceptions of subdivi- 
sions of one-family houses. New construction, whether of apart- 
ments or one-family houses, has been the work of promoters whose 
first thought was financial rather than social gain. As a con- 
sequence little thought has been given to architectural design, the 
social status of the prospective occupants, or environmental in- 
fluence for children. A study of the "invasion" of Negroes into so- 
called "white" areas reveals the pioneers as socially prominent 
families who had nothing in common with their less cultured 
neighbors, who rebelled against vice and crime permitted by city 
authorities, and who tired of looking at unkempt exteriors. 

In a recent article entitled "Hovels for Homes" 26 Miss Mary 
E. McDowell, quoting a housing study made by the Chicago De- 
partment of Public Welfare in 1925, states : 

"It is no solution of the problem of housing wage-earning families of any 
nationality or color to let them have the almost worn out, slough ed-off 
houses of other racial groups which have prospered enough economically to 
seek more new and desirable places of residence. And yet, how pitifully 
few are the examples in this country of an earnest, intelligent search for 
any other way of meeting the needs of working families for decent homes." 

Housing provides conditions favorable or unfavorable to health, 
morals, and economic efficiency. The effect of these conditions is 
just as outstanding in urban as in rural areas. The statement of 

26 See Opportunity, March, 1929, Vol. 7, No. 3, p. 74, quoting from Hughes, 
Elizabeth A., Living Conditions for Small-Wage Earners in Chicago, Chi- 
cago Department of Public Welfare, 1925. 


John Ihlder, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Housing Asso- 
ciation, that "the Negro housing problem in Pittsburgh as a race 
problem is economic," may be applied to the total problem of 
Negro housing in the United States. It is, of course, true that 
during days of comparative prosperity the wages of Negro workers 
have been insufficient to permit the building up of a substantial 
money reserve. Consequently they, in larger proportion than 
other racial groups, are compelled to live in dwellings below the 
standard that is acceptable to socially minded individuals and social 
agencies interested in the problem of housing. Unemployment, 
with its attending problems, has made the suffering endured by 
Negroes very severe. Concentrated in the poorest districts of the 
city, they feel with greater intensity the poverty which attends 
their low economic status. 

The racial factors in the problem of housing are very largely 
those prompted by whites in an attempt to limit the areas in which 
Negroes may live. Attempts to crystallize this attitude in public 
opinion in some instances lead to racial conflict. There are inhibi- 
tions and handicaps imposed upon the Negro as a Negro. He has 
not so free a choice in the selection of his residence as the white 
man. Within recent years, however, in both North and South, 
where there has been a surplus of dwellings, this fact has not 
the significance that it had a few years ago. In several cities this 
surplus of residential structures had made it possible to demolish 
a number of structures to prevent their being occupied. 

In the bibliography of this report, p. 260, there are listed more 
than forty surveys and investigations that have revealed, from 
time to time, atrocious housing conditions which shocked the 
public into temporary interest ; which, because they lacked a steady, 
consistent follow-up, brought little, if any, improvement in the 
conditions presented. In 1928 the Council of Social Agencies in 
Richmond, Virginia, conducted a most intensive survey of the 
leading problems of Negroes in that city, devoting particular 
attention to the problems of housing. The findings of this survey 
provoked much comment and alarm. But, in September, 1931, the 
Richmond (Virginia) News-Leader, in a series of eight articles 
on housing, pointed out that many new houses for Negroes had 
been "built in open violation of the building code of the city." 

In improving the general housing situation, one of the most 
fundamental approaches appears to be that of raising the stand- 


ards of the poorest housing permitted in a locality. This hap- 
pens to be a housing problem, and for Negroes principally, be- 
cause of their economic .condition and not because of their race. 
Any constructive recommendation for improving the general 
character of housing conditions among Negroes in the immediate 
future should be, according to Mr. Ihlder, (previously quoted) a 
double-barreled program, and includes: 

1. Creating among Negroes themselves a desire for the maintenance of 
pleasant, attractive neighborhoods or blocks. 

2. Emphasizing to white house owners and agents that there are different 
kinds of Negroes just as there are different kinds of whites, and that some 
of the Negroes are among the most desirable tenants obtainable. 

"An attractive Negro block or neighborhood is the best argument pos- 
sible in convincing a white owner or agent that all Negroes are not shiftless 
or irresponsible, an easy generalization into which lazy-minded individuals 
incline to fall." 

Improved housing conditions demand the cooperation of the 
occupant. This can be secured only as a result of education. The 
award systems developed by housing associations and employers 
who fostered plans of industrial housing have succeeded in many 
instances in creating a better plane of living for their occupants. 
The education of the community or any particular segment of the 
community in home improvement or homemaking is eminently a 
matter of neighborhood concern. To communicate good standards 
of housing and homemaking to those who lack them particularly 
migrant families who. have recently moved to urban centers and 
who are more able than formerly to maintain them one must 
depend upon the formative power of this neighborhood influence. 
Landlords and employers are not the only leaders who have at- 
tempted to develop this sentiment. 

Under the auspices of Better Homes in America, state Negro 
Better Homes committees have been organized in thirteen states, 
and between 1928 and 1931 there was an increase in the total num- 
ber of local Negro Better Homes committees from 229 to 925. 

One of the best known of these projects is that conducted at the 
Penn School, St. Helena Island, South Carolina, where very 
comprehensive and distinctive work is done each year. Cam- 
paigns are conducted each year for improving home conditions in 
all communities. In Topeka, Kansas, at the Phyllis Wheatley 
Center, there is a home information center. 

The work of the home demonstration agents in rural com- 

Courtesy of Better Homes in America 

The Negro Better Homes Committee of Albemarle County, Virginia, 

chose this unattractive house for a reconditioning demonstration during the 

Better Homes Campaign of 1928. 

Courtesy of Belter Homes in America 

The same house reconditioned inside and out is now being used as a home 

for aged Negro women. This picture shows what paint and a few boards 

and nails will do. The porch was extended over the window, the old picket 

fence torn away, and a wire fence put up in its place. 


munities of the South has also been a very positive factor in im- 
proving housing of rural communities. In these sections, where 
farmers live mainly in cheap buildings, erected before the land 
was paid for and where the type of architecture is far from 
satisfactory, there is a field for very earnest effort. 

Experiments in social amelioration must be made by private 
agencies. Experience has shown that, after the method has been 
worked out and the practicability of the procedure demonstrated, 
the city and state will satisfactorily carry on these projects. For 
the homes in poorer districts, and particularly Negro homes, it is 
necessary that there be competent, reliable building inspectors, 
capable of enforcing proper legislation; who will condemn hope- 
lessly unsanitary buildings and enforce their improvement or de- 
molition. Furthermore, pressure should be brought to bear on 
those municipalities that permit the constant depression of homes 
for poorer groups, particularly Negroes, by tolerating inferior 
paving, grading, walks, lighting, street cleaning, sanitation and 
policing in neighborhoods inhabited by those who can least pro- 
vide for themselves. Groups of people residing in these areas are 
seldom taxpayers, but their share in the proceeds of industry is 
less than any other group. In such situations, it is the business 
of government, not to render worse the inequalities of distribution, 
but to do something toward restoring a just balance in its applica- 
tion to that portion of the social income which it exacts in taxes. 

Yet, all of the faults of our present housing program are not to 
be laid at the door of the owner or of the municipal government. 
There is also fault with the tenant. Many are accustomed to low 
standards, and if placed in model tenements would soon make 
them unsightly, unsanitary and dilapidated. The erection of 
model tenements themselves for a marginal group would not 
necessarily improve the situation. A classic example of this is 
Glasgow, Scotland, when a few years ago it decided to build new 
sanitary dwellings for a portion of its slum population that was 
then living in deplorable hovels. After moving the old slum 
dwellers into new houses, the city fathers sat back and breathed 
a sigh of relief at having solved their problem. Ten years after- 
wards Glasgow discovered rather suddenly that its model homes 
had become slums, only then learning that the price of good 
housing is eternal vigilance. 

The improvement of these conditions, however, demands more 


than a mere negation. The great American habit of generalizing 
is just as responsible for this lack of improvement as it is for the 
creation of these causes. In many quarters the contention is held 
that Negroes do not desire improvements in their housing facil- 
ities, or that at least they make no demands for them. There is, 
of course, an element of truth in this contention. The respon- 
sibility for improving such conditions is as much the duty of the 
Negro tenant or home owner as it is that of the public official. 
However, too much of our emphasis has been placed upon provid- 
ing new homes for all the underprivileged. This approach to 
an improvement of the housing problem is not only impractical 
but impracticable. Since one of the basic factors with which 
we are concerned is that the Negro is a small-wage earner, a 
marginal worker, and for the present at least, is severely handi- 
capped by these restrictions, and since the philanthropic projects 
providing housing accommodations for Negroes have been con- 
fined to a few large centers and meet the needs of only a small 
portion of the population, it seems feasible that more and more 
effort should be directed toward the demolishing of unfit houses 
and the reconditioning of houses and neighborhoods occupied by 

"Existing houses worthy of reconditioning constitute, today, a 
vast potential resource of housing betterment" is the opinion of 
one of the most active housing associations. Toward improving 
these conditions and keeping in mind all of the social and economic 
factors that are involved in the present problem, the body politic, 
be it municipal or state, should be called upon to at least enforce 
the sanitary and housing laws in the Negro areas. Cooperating in 
this effort should be all the social and health groups in a particular 
community. The value of such a program would be enhanced if 
groups would undertake educating not only the Negro tenant in 
the value of improving such neighborhoods as they already have, 
but also in educating the white public particularly landlords of 
Negro dwellings on the types of Negroes that they might pos- 
sibly have as tenants. It should be shown that there are Negroes 
of every stage of social development and that many of them have 
standards high enough to justify the greatest care on the part of 
landlords. Furthermore, property owners should be encouraged 
to make available to Negro tenants good houses rather than the 
many dilapidated structures that are now offered them. 


Thus, there appear two phases of housing work that must be 
carried on if this problem of housing for Negroes is to be met. 
While these phases are distinct in purpose and method, they are 
necessary supplements to each other. 

The first of these methods sets definite minimum standards 
below which no dwelling shall be permitted to fall. The Negro, 
being so largely a part of the lowest-income group, is particularly 
affected by these standards. 

The second of these methods points the way to improved hous- 
ing. It experiments, and demonstrates practical programs. Most 
important in this field of social and economic factors, though it is 
outside the field of housing, is the increase of tenants' income. 
Nevertheless, it conditions housing. Instead of assuming that 
Negroes must live in habitations rather than homes because of 
their poverty, the new approach must be based upon the assump- 
tion that Negroes must be given the opportunity to earn more 
that they may pay an economic rent. 

Two facts stand out prominently in our perusal of investigations 
made on this subject: There has been no provision made for the 
more or less substantial family who wants and desires a choice of 
several neighborhoods, or for the poorer group who, though it 
cannot afford high rents, needs a wholesome environment and 
pleasant atmosphere when a hard day's work is done. There is 
proof in figures and in testimony of mortgage owners that the 
Negro is a good housing risk. Social statistics substantiate the 
need for better homes, and the varying degrees of culture and 
income within the race argue for houses of contrasting design 
in districts sufficiently diverse to permit of varied choices. 

It is of first importance, in a better homes project for working 
classes of any racial group, that houses should be constructed in 
decent neighborhoods and sold at a figure which their income will 
afford and at rates which will not interfere with health, education 
and happiness. The Negro is no exception to this acknowledged 
rule. The appreciation of such a principle, however, requires con- 
scious planning on the part of individuals who are not averse to 
departing from the custom usually followed in locating houses for 
all Negroes in one or more overcrowded and unhygienic neighbor- 

With such a goal there is room for a serious housing program 
to correct the abuses here mentioned. Enlightened municipalities, 


many of which have already concerned themselves with housing 
plans, might undertake to rid communities of unsightly and un- 
healthy tenements and at the same time add to the comfort and 
contentment of their Negro citizens. Private capital, of the sort 
that works for humanity as well as gain, of which a goodly share 
has already been spent for better homes among whites, might be 
turned to Negro housing with pecuniary benefit to itself as well as 
service in a much neglected cause. 


Home ownership is one index to social stability and good citizen- 
ship. In 1920, about 45 per cent of all American families were 
home owners. It is observed that families earning less than $1,500 
a year cannot afford to buy a home that will include the neces- 
sary standards of healthful and comfortable living 1 unless this 
is done in a section of the country where materials and labor are 
cheap. It should be mentioned in this connection that the bulk of 
the Negro population at present falls within the low-income ranges. 
Over 67 per cent of the working population, as compared with 34 
per cent of the total, are either farmers or domestic servants, and 
these are notoriously low-paid occupations. There was no sepa- 
rate tabulation of Negro home owners in 1920. In 1910, how- 
ever, there were 506,590 home owners and 1 ,666,428 renters. The 
Negro Year Book makes an estimate for 1930 of 750,000 owned 
and 1,920,000 rented houses. In 1866, however, this population 
owned only about 12,000 homes. 

The migration of Negroes from South to North coincided with 
the war-time industrial activity. Home buying was stimulated, 
as a means of escaping the congested and restricted rental areas. 
Some of these migrants continued their ownership of homes in 
the South. 

Authentic information as to Negro home ownership of recent 
date is scarce. The most detailed information on the subject is 
probably found in Negro Problems in Cities edited by Woofter; 
in The Negro in Chicago, the report of the Chicago Commission 
on Race Relations ; and in Jones' Housing of Negroes in Wash- 
ington, D. C. These are supplemented by other less pretentious 
studies and interviews in a number of southern cities. 2 

Woofter's study covered fifteen cities North and South, and 
the other two were studies of their respective localities. He noted 

1 Better Homes Manual, edited by Blanche Halbert, Chicago, University of 
Chicago Press, 1931. 

2 From report of Group on Social and Economic Factors in Negro Hous- 
ing, T. Arnold Hill, Chairman. 



a marked increase in home buying among Negroes between 1910 
and 1920 and a greater increase between 1920 and 1925. The 
reasons assigned for this increase include increasing of oppor- 
tunities in industry, higher wages, and a growing familiarity with 
urban living conditions. His study of eight southern and seven 
northern cities revealed the following facts about home ownership 
in 1920: 

1. Four southern cities showed a large increase over 1910. 

2. Two southern cities showed a steady increase. 

3. Two southern cities showed a decrease in the total number of Negro 
homes, but an increase in the number of homes owned by Negroes. 

4. All the northern cities indicated some buying, with Dayton, Ohio, at 
the top of the list and New York City at the bottom. (Table XVI, p. 81.) 

5. Negro home ownership in the North had about doubled since 1910. 

Three cities are surveyed in some detail : Memphis, New York 
City, and Chicago. 

In Memphis from 1910 to 1920 the percentage of occupant- 
owned homes increased from 11 per cent to 15 per cent. The 
table below indicates the rapidity of Negro home buying in 
Memphis : 3 

Table XV. Comparison of Negro Home Ownership, 1910- 
1920, Memphis. 

Per Cent 

1910 1920 Increase 

Total homes 14,878 19,132 28.6 

Total owned 1,672 2,867 71.5 

Owned free 1,039 1,673 61.0 

Owned mortgaged 522 940 80.0 

Owned unknown Ill 254 

The high percentage of mortgaged houses, it is explained, is 
somewhat indicative of the rate of buying, as a mortgaged house 
usually means a comparatively recent investment, while a house 
owned free usually indicates buying started years before. 

Negroes are buying largely in outlying woods and new areas in 

"Adapted from Headley, Madge, "Housing," (Woofter, T. J. Jr. and 
Associates, Negro Problems in Cities, Garden City, N. Y., Doubleday, Doran 
and Company, Inc., 1928), pp. 115-170. Table XXIX, p. 139. 





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Memphis and in other cities. As old areas of Negro residence are 
encroached upon by the expansion of the business district, the 
thriftier Negroes move out and try to buy rather than search for 
new places to rent. 

Home buying is difficult, it is pointed out, for any class of wage 
earners in New York City because of the high value of land and 
the tenement house development. Yet individual Negroes have 
bought some property in New York City since 1920, and there 
are several cases of cooperative buying of apartment houses. The 
Rockefeller project, the Paul Laurence Dunbar Garden Apart- 
ments, is the best known, but not the only one, of the latter. It is 
estimated that Negroes own over $2,000,000 worth of property in 
Harlem. There are several blocks, notably the ones in 139th 
Street and 138th Street, where high-grade one- family dwellings 
are owned by their Negro occupants. Brooklyn, the Bronx, and 
especially 'Queens Borough, show a higher percentage of owned 
homes than does Manhattan, indicating again that Negroes, like 
other people who move to outlying sections, are more likely to be 
home owners than those who remain near the center of the city. 

Table XVII. 

Negro Home Ownership in Five Boroughs New York City, 

1920 5 


.... . 7791 


Per cent 

Bronx . . 





26 156 




1 173 


31 5 





Total City 


1 163 


In Chicago the percentage of homes owned is much greater in 
the outlying wards where Negroes have gone than in the second 
and third wards where the bulk of the Negroes still remained in 

6 Ibid., p. 141. 



Table XVIII. 

Negro Home Ownership in Seven Wards, Chicago, 1920 6 

Total Owned Per cent 

Ward homes homes owned 

Two 10,714 558 5.2 

Three 4,369 346 7.9 

Six 1,463 149 10.2 

Fourteen 1,744 69 4.0 

Thirty 1,944 106 5.5 

Thirty-one 1,061 209 19.7 

Thirty-two 399 189 47.4 

Total City . . 25,684 1^2 ^4 

"Ward thirty-two includes the colony in Morgan Park, which is 
made up of families with a keen home-owning desire, progressive 
ideals and civic pride, and who are actively working to obtain 
municipal improvements in sewers, paving, and water supply." 7 

However, since 1920 in both North and South there has been 
a tremendous increase in the amount of city properties owned by 
Negroes. Reports from Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia 
show losses in farm properties owned by Negroes compensated 
by increases in the acquisition of city property. In North Caro- 
lina, Negroes in 1928 owned 62,009 city lots as compared with 

Table XIX. 

Value of City Property, 1923 and 1928, Georgia, North 
Carolina and Virginia 







Per Cent 




$ 4,546,846 


North Carolina. . 

* For year 1922. 

6 Ibid., p. 142. Data from the Federal Census. 

''Ibid., p. 143. 


46,065 in 1923. The value of city properties owned by Negroes 
in 1928 as compared with 1923 for the States of Georgia, North 
Carolina, and Virginia is shown in Table XIX. 8 

The relationship between migration and the ownership of home 
sites is becoming more and more apparent. A current study of 
the Negro in New Jersey is showing that the concentration of 
migrant Negro groups in certain areas was due to the activity of 
certain real estate companies in selling northern properties to 
southern Negroes. 9 Thus, the Negro colony in Mizpah, Cumber- 
land County, is largely composed of Negroes who formerly lived 
in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Georgia. In Gloucester County, New 
Jersey, there are other Negro settlements. The lots were sold to 
Negro families on the proverbial shoe string, while a cooperating 
lumber dealer furnished materials for building on equally low 
terms. All of these communities lack modern improvements and 
represent the shifting scenes in this problem of home ownership. 

Special local studies offer figures on the extent and character of 
ownership in a number of cities, North and South. The tax 
assessor's records for Albany, New York, showed Negro property 
values ranging from $700 to $8,000, with an aggregate value of 
$225,000. In a total of 255 houses, 65 were owned. 10 Elizabeth 
Hughes found 11 per cent of the Negro small- wage earners in 
Chicago as compared with 17 per cent of the native whites owning 
their homes. There were no Mexican home owners. 11 "Families 
have found," she says, "that only by purchasing a home could they 
be at all assured of a place in which to live at a cost which would 
not be considerably beyond their control or calculation." In 
Columbus, Ohio, 175 of 684 households, about a fourth, owned 
their homes. 12 

8 See Work, Monroe N., Editor, The Negro Year Book, Tuskegee, Ala., 
1931-1932, pp. 118-119. 

9 Survey of Negro Life in New Jersey, Interracial Committee, New Jersey 
Conference of Social Work. (Final report will be ready in 1932.) 

10 Reid, Ira De A., The Negro Population of Albany, N. Y., New York, 
National Urban League, 1928. 

"Hughes, Elizabeth A., Living Conditions for Small-Wage Earners in 
Chicago, Bureau of Social Surveys, Chicago Department of Public Wel- 
fare, 1925. 

"Mark, Mary Louise, Negroes in Columbus (Ohio), (Section on Hous- 
ing Conditions), Department of Sociology, Ohio State University, Colum- 
bus, Ohio State University Press, 1928. 


The Mayor's Interracial Committee of Detroit found 312 
owners in 1,000 homes studied. That there were recent purchases 
was indicated in the fact that only 81 of these 312 owned these 
homes clear. The average value of 25.5 of these buildings was 
$5,323, and values ranged from $500 to $20,000. 13 

In Philadelphia in 1920, 3,278, or 10 per cent, of 30,995 Negro 
families owned homes; an intimate study by the Department of 
Public Welfare in 1927 gave 15 per cent owners, and 11 per cent 
in Pittsburgh. The former city had 33 Negro building and loan 
associations, while there was none in Pittsburgh. 14 

Southern Cities 

The extent of property ownership by Negroes has, in the past, 
been greater in the South than in the North. The largest amount 
of ownership is found in West Virginia. Charleston has 45.8 per 
cent owners with an aggregate valuation of $1,237,600. 15 In Beck- 
ley 95 per cent of the Negro residents own their homes. 16 

In Dallas, Texas, 17 about 30 per cent of the homes were owned, 
and in Richmond, Virginia, about 39 per cent. 18 In one ward 
Negroes owned property valued at $828,980. In Washington, 
D. C., Negroes have made a special point of ownership although 
property values are high. Among 545 homes studied, 46.5 per cent 
were owners. 19 

13 The Negro in Detroit (Section V, "Housing"), Prepared for the Mayor's 
Interracial Committee, Detroit Bureau of Governmental Research, Inc., 1926. 
( Mimeographed. ) 

14 Washington, Forrester B., Negro Survey of Pennsylvania, Department 
of Welfare, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, 1927. 

15 The Negro in West Virginia, "Housing Conditions" A Survey of 
Negro Population of Charleston, West Virginia, Report of the Bureau of 
Negro Welfare and Statistics, Charleston, West Virginia, 1921-1922. 
(T. Edward Hill, Director.) 

16 A Survey of 'Negro Housing and Home Ownership of Beckley, West 
Virginia, made by Professor W. C. Matney of Bluefield Institute, May, 
1928, under the auspices of the Bureau of Negro Welfare and Statistics, 
Charleston, West Virginia, (J. W. Robinson, Director.) 

17 A Survey of Negro Housing in Dallas, Texas, The Dallas Committee on 
Interracial Cooperation, Civic Federation of Dallas, 1924-1925. (Manu- 

18 Knight, Charles Louis, Negro Housing in Certain Virginia Cities, 
(Richmond, Lynchburg and Charlottes ville), (University of Virginia, 
Phelps-Stokes Fellowship Paper No. 8) Richmond, The William Byrd 
Press, 1927. 

19 Jones, William Henry, The Housing of Negroes in Washington, D. C., 
Washington, Howard University Press, 1929. 


A new habit with regard to home ownership is reported from 
New Orleans, and a marked increase has been noted. One builder 
opened a Negro addition, selling exclusively to Negroes on low 
terms, and has been marvelously successful. In some cities 
elaborate homes have been built by Negroes of means. 

The influence of home ownership is readily observed in the 
care and attractiveness of property, its state of repair, site, and 
gradually increasing value. Corson found twice as many owners 
as renters in Richmond, Virginia, in locations with good drainage, 
and the Civic Federation of Dallas, Texas, noted nearly four 
times as many owned as rented homes falling in Class "A," and 
about the same disproportion in favor of home owners in the num- 
ber of uninhabitable dwellings. 

Home Ownership and Family Stability 

A most significant study is that of E. Franklin Frazier dealing 
with the extent to which the Negro in Chicago was able to achieve 
a relatively stable and permanent family life. 20 One index em- 
ployed was that of home ownership. He observed : 

"Nothing showed so vividly as the progressive stabilization of Negro 
family life in the seven zones 21 of the community as the increase in home 
ownership for the successive areas. Although in 1920 less than one Negro 
family out of every fourteen owned its home in Chicago, from the point of 
view of the distribution of home ownership in the Negro community, this 
was true only of the families in the fourth zone or the center of the com- 

20 Frazier, E. Franklin, The Negro Family in Chicago, Chicago, Univer- 
sity of Chicago Press, 1932, pp. 128-135. 

21 The Negro population on the South Side extends from Twelfth Street 
to Seventy-first Street and is confined mainly between Wentworth Avenue 
on the west and Cottage Grove Avenue and the Lake on the east. Because 
of the size of the census tracts it has not been possible to mark off areas of 
equal length, although they are approximately a mile in their southern and 
northern extension. The results of the calculation of the percentage of 
Negroes in each occupational class are given for males and females. . . . 
It has also been possible to calculate the percentage of women employed and 
the percentage of families owning their homes for these areas. The first and 
second areas extend for a distance of ten blocks each, from Twelfth to 
Twenty-second Street and from Twenty-second to Thirty-second Street. 
The next area extends from Thirty-second to Thirty-ninth Street, a distance 
of only seven blocks, while the next three areas extend for a distance of 
eight blocks each. While the last area extends from Sixty-third to Sixty- 
seventh Street for the distribution of the occupational classes, in the case of 
home ownership it has been possible to calculate the percentage for eight 
blocks, or to Seventy-first Street. 


munity. The three zones north and south of this area varied considerably 
in respect to home ownership. In the first zone, where there was consider- 
able crowding * of the poorer migrant families from the South in the lowest 
type of houses f in which Negroes lived, there was no home ownership. 
Descriptions of the dwellings at the time showed that: 

'. . . Most of these dwellings were frail, flimsy, tottering, unkempt and some 
of them literally falling apart. Little repairing is done from year to year. 
Consequently their state grows progressively worse, and they are now 
even less habitable than when the surveys quoted at the beginning of this 
section were made. The surroundings in these localities were in a condition 
of extreme neglect, with little apparent effort to observe the laws of sanita- 
tion. Streets, alleys, and vacant lots contained garbage, rubbish, and litter of 
all kinds. It is difficult to enforce health regulations.' 

"In the next zone, where white people still lived in the large, well-built, 
and ornate dwellings on the once fashionable residential streets Michigan, 
Indiana, and Prairie Avenues Negro families had filtered in and occupied 
the hundreds of old houses that surrounded the white homes.$ Only about 
one Negro family out of every hundred was living in its own home. The 
forty-six families who owned their homes represented a small group of 
thrifty and rising families in the Negro population. . . . 

"Home ownership in the third zone showed a decided increase, for about 
one Negro family out of every sixteen owned its home. On the whole the 
houses in this area showed age and were rapidly deteriorating. But, on 
Grand Boulevard and South Park Avenue, Negroes of the professional and 
business classes had bought the substantial old family residences that had 
been abandoned by whites. There were other neighborhoods of Negro prop- 
erty owners, belonging chiefly to the upper classes, who attempted to resist 
the disorganization that characterized this area. 

* "Zone 1 showed a higher average number of families and persons per 
dwelling than any zone in the South Side community. . . ." 

t ". . . Concerning the classification of houses inhabited by Negroes, the 
report" (The Negro in Chicago, by the Chicago Commission on Race Rela- 
tions, published in 1922, at page 186) "gave the following : 'A rough classi- 
fication of Negro housing according to types, ranging from the best, de- 
signated as "Type A," to the poorest, designated as "Type D," was made by 
the Commission on the basis of a block survey comprising 238 blocks, cover- 
ing all the main areas of Negro residences and data concerning 274 families, 
scattered through 238 blocks, one or two to a block, whose histories and 
housing experiences were intensively studied by the Commission's investiga- 
tors. Approximately 5 per cent of Chicago's Negro population live in 
"Type A" houses, 10 per cent in "Type B," 40 per cent in "Type C," and 
45 per cent in the poorest, "Type D." ' 

$ "Many of the homes in this area were described as follows : 'In a large 
number of buildings families were obliged to use common toilets located in 
halls or backyards. The dwellings were out of repair in some respects in 
nearly every instance. Defects of this kind were often in the plumbing. Leaky 
toilets or water pipes were common complaints. Some toilets did not flush. 
Some sinks were leaky, as were some of the roofs.' " 


"The slight increase in home ownership in the next zone indicated the 
same tendency of the upper levels of the Negro population and more stable 
families to seek a congenial environment. Representative of this group 
was the family of a physician who came from a settlement of free mulattoes 
in one of the northern States. This physician's paternal grandfather was 
among those free mulattoes who left the State of North Carolina early 
in the nineteenth century, when restrictive legislation was passed against 
this group and helped to establish this settlement. Soon after this physician 
began the practice of medicine in Chicago he bought a home in Ravenswood, 
but later moved to the South Side. He said : 

The only reason that I moved away from there my children were getting 
up where they would be eight or nine years of age and we had an idea we 
wanted them to meet with children of their own race whom they would be 
associated with in the future.' 

"His experience on the South Side was typical of the efforts of the upper 
classes to maintain the character of their neighborhoods in harmony with 
their standards of living. 

". . . In the sixth zone, between Garfield Boulevard and Sixty-third 
Street, where 857 Negro families were living in 1920, ninety-nine families 
owned their homes. The proportion of families owning their homes in this 
area was nearly 50 per cent higher than the average for the entire Negro 
population in the city. Home ownership in this zone was not evenly dis- 
tributed, for the general character of this area was affected by railroad 
lines on the west and south. The families that found their way into the 
areas bordering the railroad property were on a lower level of culture than 
those that have moved into the more desirable sections. On the whole, the 
increase in home ownership in this zone was due to the presence of the 
more industrious and stable families who were distinguished from the mass 
of the Negro population. There was a relatively large percentage of skilled 
laborers and a smaller percentage of the women employed than in any other 
zone except the seventh. Moreover, this area had a somewhat larger per- 
centage of the professional classes than any of the areas north of this zone. 
One of the first families of the professional class to move into the most 
desirable section of this zone was a dentist of national renown, who was 
married to a woman who could boast of six generations of free ancestry. 
Members of her immediate family had distinguished themselves, while others 
had intermarried with some of the most successful Negro families in the 
country. Since 1920, members of the professional classes and those possess- 
ing some background of culture have continued to move into this section. 
At the same time, as this area has become more completely a Negro section, 
less desirable families have settled here and forced the older inhabitants to 
look elsewhere for a congenial environment. 

"The better-class families have been seeking better neighborhoods in the 
seventh zone beyond Sixty-third Street. In the section of this zone which 
forms a part of Woodlawn there has been for many years a small group of 
Negro families who represented the most stable elements in the Negro popu- 


lation. In 1920, 30 per cent of these families, some of whom were of the 
professional classes, owned their homes. Many of these houses were single- 
family residences. Eight of the twenty families that had moved beyond 
Sixty-seventh Street were also home owners. . . ." 22 

Individual Home Building on Small Capital 

The human story of individual home buying by one of the Negro 
families in a southern city is given in the following document : 23 

Here's the situation: When I decided to try and build, I bought a lot of 
good old lumber and started storing it up. It was a struggle for me, for I 
was renting and had to pay $16.00 a month for rent ; then I had my mother 
and my sister's children with me, and of course their father was mighty nice 
and helped them a lot, but you know how it is with children ; he would send 
them a pair of shoes, but the upkeep of those shoes would be on me and you 
know how much fixing it takes to keep children's shoes in good shape. Of 
course it was like that in all of their clothes and I had to feed them too. 
But I tried to save a little, and as soon as I got together a few things I 
began working. First, I built up the piers, and they stayed there so long 
that sometimes I would come back in the morning and they would be torn 
down by people who wanted to go through. You see this was a vacant lot 
and there was a wagon road through here and people used to pass all the 
time. They would just pull them down and go through. 

Well, I had a little Christmas savings and we had bought up some good 
lumber, so I decided to make a little start. I just meant to put up two 
little rooms and a shed on the back of the lot and then build the house I 
wanted in the front as I got the money. I went to a lumber yard and out- 
lined everything to them and told them as soon as I got the Christmas sav- 
ings in November I would pay them if they would let me have the lumber 
at that time. I got the lumber, and the man I got to frame it up for me 
said since I had so much lumber it would be cheaper to just build the kind 
of house I wanted at once, so we started. After I framed it up, the money 
ran out and I had to let it stand for five or six months before I could get 
a top on it. When I was working on the house I had a regular job, and I 
would get up at four o'clock in the morning and work on it until seven, then 
go home to breakfast and to work ; I would come from work and come right 
back over here and work until dark ; I wouldn't even stop to eat when I got 

"Other settlements of Negroes showed variations in home ownership that 
reflected the general culture of these areas. In Roseland, where there was 
a stable family life, forty-seven of the sixty families owned their homes. 
Seventy-three per cent of the Negro families in Morgan Park were home 
owners, and in Englewood 25 per cent of the families owned their homes. On 
the Near West Side only 3 per cent of the families were home owners, while 
in the settlement on the Near North Side there were no home owners. . . ." 
p. 135. 

22 Frazier, E. Franklin, The Negro Family in Chicago, Chicago, Univer- 
sity of Chicago Press, 1932. 

23 From an unpublished Study in the Department of Social Science, Fisk 


home from work, and I guess that was one of the reasons my health failed. 
People would pass by and wonder why I did not finish the house ; I thought 
that was a silly thing for them to ask because they ought to have known 
that if I had had the money I would have finished it. They said it would 
rot down before I got through, but I just kept going, and as soon as I 
would get a little ahead I would get something else to put on it and work a 
little more. I got a friend to speak to a man for some shingles for me and 
they cost me $140.00 ; after I got that, I saved up a little more and got men 
to put the top on. Then I decided that that sixteen dollars we were paying 
for rent would help us out a lot, so we decided to move on up. It was real 
warm and we knew we would not take cold and the roof would keep the 
rain out. When we moved in we didn't have any doors or windows, but we 
soon saved enough to get some outside doors, and finally we got enough to 
get plastering to fix two rooms and we got that done just before Christmas. 
I was working steady then, but it was a hard pull because I had so much on 
me. We didn't buy so much old lumber. I couldn't keep up with the bills 
or the payments either. You see they were so scattering ; we started buying 
about five years ago. 

I chose this neighborhood because I thought it was going to grow up. 
It was mostly all vacant then just commons around here, and the folks 
give me a bad go when I was building it. They all said it would rot down 
before I finished it. Most people don't have the trouble I did; they just buy 
it and have to meet monthly notes themselves and they don't know anything 
of the struggle of building it bit by bit themselves as we did. 

This is not the first home I had or, rather, it isn't the first one I bar- 
gained for. I bargained to buy a home in Atlanta, and I didn't have any 
money to send back when I moved here, so I just gave it up. But I'll tell 
you just what caused me to start buying out here. When we first came to 

Nashville, we just rented a room with Mr. (on Fisk campus), and we 

were light housekeeping there, but my wife got tired of that and she wanted 
to housekeep for herself; so I told her to go ahead and find the kind of 
house she wanted and we would rent it. She did find a house and we decided 
to take it ; then she went downtown and bought some things and fixed it up. 
You know I am this sort of a man if I live in a place, I believe in keeping it 
clean and doing little things to keep it looking nice around the yard and 
house, no matter whose house it is ; so we'd get those places and clean up 
and make the yard look good, and just as soon as we got it looking to suit 
us, some one would come along and want to buy it and we'd have to move. 
Before we fixed it up, nobody would notice it, but just as soon as we got it 
fixed, here they'd come wanting it and it just kept us moving all the time. 
You know that makes a bad impression on our friends, and especially on 
the folks back home. I could make all sorts of explanations to prove that it 
wasn't our fault that we had to move so much, but you know folks would 
never believe that the reason we gave would be the real one; they'd just 
think' that we had a bad break here or something and wasn't doing no good ; 
so I just wanted to be stationary so that when I write to my folks they could 
continue to write me at that address and not be changing every year or two. 
The last time I had to move, it was three or four months before I found a 


house that was decent. Of course you know you can always find some kind 
of a house, but I wanted a decent house in a decent neighborhood; so I just 
decided that I would build my little shack in the back of the yard, but I was 
making good money then, and when my friend said it would be cheaper to 
build the kind of house I wanted I went on with it, and where I had enough 
to build the little house I planned at first, after I decided to go on with the 
permanent house, it took all of the money to get the frame up. 

I wouldn't sell it for less than $6,500 now, and I would have to have most 
of that cash to let it go for that now. Even if I could get my price for it, 
I imagine I would be jealous of the person who bought it. I have sacrificed 
too much to get it in the first place and I have done too much of the work 
myself ; then I like this spot for a home, but my wife has been sick so much 
and I have had so much sickness myself and work has been so scarce that 
I just don't know what to do. 

General Observations on Negro Home Ownership 

Summarizing the tendencies in Negro home ownership, these 
items may be noted : 

1. Home buying in northern cities has about doubled since 1920. 

2. In certain cities of the South the increase in Negro home buying has 
been more rapid than the increase for the cities as a whole. 

3. In northern cities there has been a rapid increase in home buying, but 
the dwellings purchased by Negroes have been, in large part, old and diffi- 
cult to keep in repair. 

4. Special difficulties are encountered in financing of Negro homes. 

5. New housing developments are not freely open to Negroes, either in 
the North or South, except where they are sponsored by Negroes, or 
exclusively for them. 

6. When these developments are sponsored by Negroes, the lack of capital, 
the difficulty of securing municipal improvements, and the enforced removal 
from proximity to work render them too hazardous to encourage full Negro 
financial support. 


Home buying by Negroes is controlled by their level of in- 
come, by factors inherent in the types of property and neighbor- 
hoods available, and by their understanding of what constitutes 
sound investment in property. Few Negro prospective buyers are 
able to pay cash, and thus it becomes necessary to borrow. Public 
opinion has not strongly favored purchases in the so-called 
"white" residence areas. Moreover, new developments, lacking 
in municipal improvements, are not encouraging for loans. The 
area in which loans can be made most freely, from the point of 
view of public opinion, is, ironically enough, the area most open to 
influences which make the financing of properties within it a 

"An important factor in the housing problem is the low security rating 
given by real estate loan concerns to property tenanted by Negroes. Be- 
cause of this Negroes are charged more than white people for loans, find it 
more difficult to secure them, and thus are greatly handicapped in efforts 
to buy or improve property. . . . 

"When districts become exclusively Negro this reluctance to invest or to 
lend invariably appears. If there are sufficient Negroes with money to 
create a market, the loss is somewhat relieved. Yet, deprived of the usual 
facilities for purchasing a home, they cannot relieve their housing shortage 
and are forced to seek houses in unfriendly neighborhoods. 

"The factors are similar to those in depreciation, often based on prejudices 
and erroneous beliefs concerning Negroes. Whatever depreciates real estate 
necessarily depresses its security value whether the cause be fact or opinion. 

A bank had difficulty in selling Negro loans to white people because 

they say 'they don't keep up the property; they let it deteriorate; they don't 
improve it'." 1 

The Elements of Risk in Financing Negro Properties 

The age of the houses in the Negro residence areas, and the 
general aspect of deterioration, along with the fact that few new 
houses are built, help to explain the reluctance of banks and finan- 
cial agencies to make investments in these sections. 

1 The Chicago Commission on Race Relations, The Negro in Chicago, 
Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1922, pp. 215-216. 



"The increase in buying in northern cities started at a time when loan 
money was in demand and rates high. Negroes bought old properties, and 
had great difficulty in getting mortgage money, even at advanced rates, 
partly because of the depreciated values of the houses they purchased and 
partly because of prejudice against a new type of clients. Mortgage firms 
willing to take the paper found difficulty in selling it. . . ." 2 

Not only are the older areas prohibitive of loans but most of the 
concerns believe that the sales value of property in newly acquired 
areas is lowered with Negro residence. Where there is little 
likelihood of the neighborhood's rapidly becoming all Negro there 
has frequently occurred a disturbance of these values. That the 
values return, whether the neighborhood remains but slightly 
affected or changes complexion entirely, is not of great importance 
to investors who seek immediate and obvious security for their 

Where Negro property of any sort is concerned, it is usually felt 
that the buying market is restricted to Negroes. This is some- 
times true. From the point of view of the investor, the range of 
bargaining is narrowed and profits limited to what this group is 
able or willing to pay. It has seldom been observed that they pay 
less, but this does not affect the theory, which is reasonable. There 
are other obvious factors affecting the value of Negro properties. 
They almost never lie in the path of residential development, and 
thus the chances for enhancement of values are reduced. 

Mortgages on Negro Property 

The problem of loans for Negroes, on both first and second 
mortgages, is bound up with the economics of the situation. 3 In- 
stitutions, banks and insurance companies, which are the largest 
takers of mortgage loans, are not interested in small loans, and the 
Negro purchaser's equity is, as a rule, too small to induce a loan 
of reasonable size at a reasonable rate of interest. Their income 
is low, as has been pointed out in another section, their securities 
and savings meager, and their chances of meeting regular monthly 
payments contingent upon their status as marginal workers. 
Where loans are made to them at all, it is regarded as justification 

2 Headley, Madge, "Housing," (Woofter, T. J. Jr. and Associates, Negro 
Problems in Cities, Garden City, N. Y., Doubleday, Doran and Company, 
Inc., 1928), pp. 143-144. 

8 From a memorandum prepared by L. D. Milton, Vice President and 
Cashier of the Citizens Trust Company, Atlanta, Georgia. 


that the interest and fees should be made large enough to give a 
measure of insurance against the risks involved. Some banks thus 
draw lines excluding Negro loans and Negro property completely. 
The discrimination is often, however, more economic than real. 
Financial institutions feel it necessary to keep their assets in such 
shape as to rehandle them with other financial institutions. 4 This 
desire to standardize investments in mortgage loans undoubtedly 
limits the amounts that can be advanced to Negroes for home 
ownership and home building. 

The Columbus study, which has been cited before, included 
inquiries among real estate men: 

"The opinion seems to be almost unanimous among white men who deal 
in residential property that the coming of Negroes into a white neighbor- 
hood lowers the sale value of homes in that district. A man representing 
a building and loan company says that the Negroes as a race do not keep 
their property up and so they soon make a community undesirable for a 
good class of white people. He cites the principal Negro districts in the 
city as evidence. Knowing what the effect will be, many whites try to sell 
their homes as soon as Negroes move into the neighborhood, thus throwing 
many properties on the market and lowering the sale value. 

"Another man who has done considerable business with the Negroes 
says the effect of Negroes' coming into a community depends upon condi- 
tions already existing in the community. If the section is a first-class white 
neighborhood, and there is little likelihood of its becoming a distinctly Negro 
neighborhood, property values go down. But if the neighborhood is already 
in a run down condition the coming of colored people may increase the 
values. This, he says, was true north of Mt. Vernon Avenue near Gallo- 
way Avenue. The pressure of so many Negroes needing homes and their 
eagerness to go into the district caused prices to rise. This man does not 
think the Negroes have had any effect upon property values in the West 
Goodale Street district or in the South Side district. In those districts 
property values had already depreciated somewhat with the coming of the 

"A building and loan official says that the immediate effect is always 
depreciation in value of property because the presence of Negroes in any 
neighborhood makes it less desirable for whites. If, however, the property 
is not already too high for the average Negro to purchase, the number of 
Negro prospective buyers tends to increase the prices after the first period 
of depreciation. . . ." B 

Thus, loans for such types of prospective home owners fall to pri- 
vate funds, the cost of which is high because of the greater risks 

4 Ibid. 

6 Mark, Mary Louise, Negroes in Columbus (Ohio), (Section on Housing 
Conditions), Department of Sociology, Ohio State University, Columbus, 
Ohio State University Press, 1928. 


generally sustained by the private lender. These limitations, it 
would seem, while rigid and impersonal, are not fundamentally 
racial, although they bear down hardest upon Negroes because of 
their circumstances. Otherwise it is possible for Negroes to 
borrow money, legitimately, on mortgages. 

"The largest savings bank here makes almost daily advances of this kind, 
and our life insurance companies take another large block. The president of 
the Georgia Savings Bank advised me today that fully 30 per cent or more 
than two million dollars in loans is on Negro property. There is no way 
of estimating how much private money is loaned, but I do know definitely 
that private sources are carrying tremendous amounts. I do not know of 
a single deserving instance even during the present disturbed economic con- 
ditions where it was impossible for a Negro with a business proposition to 
obtain a loan. I do admit, however, that some organizations will make 
such loans under no circumstance, probably because of the class risk that 
I have outlined above. 

"As peculiar as it might seem, our Negroes with the largest incomes are 
usually the poorest mortgage risks. Conversation with heads of financial 
institutions here brings almost unanimous opinion that the servant who buys 
a small piece of realty, requires a small mortgage, and who usually applies 
a substantial cash payment to his purchase is the best type of risk. Our own 
experience is just as conclusive." 8 

This last observation points to a situation which is the very op- 
posite of the fairly general belief regarding Negro standards of 
living. Their scale of living, far from being uniformly lower than 
the white, is, ironically enough, as high or higher, without the 
means of supporting it. This is observed by the Negro banker 
who remarked: 

"For ourselves as Negroes, it is indeed unfortunate that we live in a 
country of so much progress. Our wants almost always exceed our income, 
and it is difficult to restrict the desire to buy far beyond our means to repay. 
In home ownership, the average Negro is likely to attempt the purchase of 
a piece of realty far beyond his ability to pay without at the same time 
restricting his purchases of luxuries, principally automobiles, which he sees 
on all hands." 7 

The problem of financing is further defined by J. C. Napier, 
Cashier of the Citizens Savings Bank of Nashville, Tennessee : 

"As to the securing of mortgages, I think that Negroes applying for loans 
or first mortgages on their property in this community are generally ac- 
commodated without reference to their race or color, provided their applica- 

8 From a memorandum prepared by L. D. Milton, Vice President and 
Cashier of the Citizens Trust Company, Atlanta, Georgia. 
T Ibid. 


tion for such a loan is based upon a reasonable valuation of their property. 
The general rule is for the financier to grant such a loan or fix the mort- 
gage, based upon a 50 per cent valuation of the property of the borrower. 

"The practice in this community seems to be contrary to granting or en- 
couraging second mortgages. The belief, however, is prevalent that there 
is a rule among the real estate dealers in this community to discourage or 
prohibit the purchase of property by colored people in white neighbor- 

There are several methods of purchase available for Negro 
buyers. Three of the chief methods are through straight mort- 
gages, through building and loan associations, and by the contract 
or "pay like rent" plan. Negroes do some buying for cash out- 
right, but that method is and must continue to be rare in cities 
where property values are high. Investigators found that the 
placing of first mortgage loans on city property is not particularly 
difficult, especially when there is available a surplus of loan funds, 
but Negroes often pay more than the normal rate of interest, be- 
cause of the conditions mentioned above. Although conditions 
have improved as prejudice diminished before business considera- 
tions, Negroes still have to pay more for loans than do white 
buyers. The second mortgage money comes so dear because of 
the lack of organization in that field, Miss Headley thinks, rather 
than because of prejudice, and the high rates (12 to 20 per cent 
including various extra charges) also affect white buyers of 
"cheap" property. 

Negro buyers fare better in communities where building and 
loan associations are prominent in the real estate field. Many 
communities have thriving Negro associations (Philadelphia had 
thirty-six in 1925), and white associations often welcome Negro 
clients. Building and loan -associations are carefully regulated by 
law in most states and offer protection to the lender and borrower 
alike. A white company in Lexington, Kentucky, has had Negro 
clients almost since its inception and in twenty years had never 
lost a dollar. 

Contract buying involves a small initial payment and small 
monthly payments "like rent." Its defect is that it allows ex- 
ploitation and that special clauses may be inserted which make it 
easy to claim a default whereby the buyer loses all that has been 
paid in. The printed forms of contract to sell that are used are 

'From a memorandum prepared by J. C. Napier, Cashier of the Citizens 
Savings Bank and Trust Company, Nashville, Tennessee. 


devised to protect the vendor ; there is no record of purchase ; and 
additional mortgages may be put on by the vendor after pay- 
ments have started. 

"However, protection is necessary for the vendor, since the cash payment 
is low and an equity is earned only after thirty to forty monthly pay- 
ments. . . . 

"Selling under contract-lease is highly speculative, and is carried on 
through active advertising and soliciting campaigns in which glowing 
promises are made. Buyers are tempted to undertake a burden of payments 
extending over from ten to fifteen years, with constant danger of loss 
through violation of clauses in the lease contract, or through default." 9 

In this matter of buying, virtually the same situation exists as 
in the case of rents. They pay more. The present systems, more- 
over, permit exploitation. Charles S. Duke of Chicago states: 

"Recent investigations in Chicago disclose the fact that banks, white and 
black, charge a commission of from 6 to 15 per cent on colored loans and 
7 per cent interest. Whites secure first mortgages for 3 to 6 per cent com- 
mission and 2 to 6 per cent interest. Negroes pay from 15 per cent to 35 
per cent commission and 6 per cent interest. Mortgage houses find it 
exceedingly difficult to sell mortgage paper upon Negro property, and insti- 
tutions that handle such paper are, at the present time, overstocked. Even 
Negro investors refuse to purchase mortgage paper upon residences occupied 
by members of their own race. In fact, colored investors, in many instances, 
have manifested about as much narrowness in this regard as white 
investors." 10 

The need of a central appraisal bureau has been felt for com- 
munities in which small- wage earners are forced 'into competitive 
buying as a means of promoting home ownership. This empha- 
sizes all the more the plight of the prospective Negro buyer. For 
the white buyer is most likely to have larger funds, but what is 
still more important, an unlimited field from which to make a 
selection of a home. This fact tends to place a limitation of a sort 
upon prices. The narrowly restricted range of Negro residence 
areas permits extravagant and not infrequently disastrously exces- 
sive prices. He must choose between a good location excessively 
priced, and a reasonable price in a section where no one desires 
to reside. 

Impersonal and racial factors in the situation are not all. The 

9 Headley, Madge, "Housing," (Woofter, T. J. Jr. and Associates, Negro 
Problems in Cities, Garden City, N. Y., Doubleday, Doran and Company, 
Inc., 1928), p. 149. 

10 From a memorandum prepared by Charles S. Duke, Architectural and 
Structural Engineer, 184 West Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois. 


Negro home purchaser, coming to the market, especially in the 
cities of the North, is unacquainted with actual risks of buying. 
As John E. Nail points out, he is "misdirected in his investment 
by those who are incompetent to advise and direct. He buys on 
short margin, and in times of pressure his source of employment 
being uncertain, he faces criticism and the ultimate loss of his 
home and investment." 

In some southern cities it has been possible, through friendly 
or dependent relations with white families, to get their aid in 
securing easier terms on moderate homes, and, too, there has been 
some help from the small Negro businesses which have been, as a 
matter of fact, established in protest against the difficulty of get- 
ting loans on moderate terms from white banks. Particular in- 
quiries were made on this point in several southern cities. An 
example of an illuminating sort is in the following account which 
concerns Houston, Texas: 

"As to buying of homes, they usually buy in certain additions; Forest 
Homes in the Third ward and Pine Crest in the Fifth ward are some of the 
better additions. The price of the homes in these additions ranges from $2,600 
to $4,000, and averages around $3,100 or $3,200. The number of rooms ranges 
from 4 to 6. Most of them are five-room houses. They pay $200 to $250 
down and the rest in monthly instalments. The monthly payments average 
around $30. They are supposed to pay 10 per cent down, but we very 
seldom get it. None of the real estate agents stick to that. They take a 
small down payment and then raise the monthly payments to take care of it. 
They charge a high interest, and the client doesn't usually understand that 
that is to be added. I have a client now who was buying a house and he 
really paid 20 per cent interest on his money. The interest payments were 
running to 14 and 15 per cent then and that was on the face of the note 
when they had already deducted 5 per cent when they made the note and 
had not given him the money until six months later ; so, in addition to all 
of this interest, he paid it for six months when he did not have use of the 
money. We do not have any building and loan associations at all catering 
to colored. The Houston Building and Loan Company and the National 
Bond and Mortgage companies are the only ones who did lend to colored, 
and they do not do it any more. . . . 

"There is another class of people buying out six or eight miles from 
town. There is an acreage division out there which they sell in 1-acre tracts, 
and a good many people have gone out there. Then we have Independence 
Heights and Sunnyside. The lots out there range from $220 to $500 each. 
They are not additions in the true sense of the word, for there has been no 
improvement made, and the people who buy do so hoping to go out there 
and live, but they have no means to get out there, and no way to get into 
town to their work if they move out. The type of people who buy have 


their work in town and do not make enough to own and run a car, but they 
hear the cheap prices quoted and jump at it. The Wright Land Company 
started the Acreage addition and Embry and Gillette the Forest Homes. 
I think Burke started the Pine Crest addition. These outer additions have 
no sewerage; Independence Heights has little sewerage, and what it has is 
not at all adequate. Sunnyside and Acreage have no gas or water, except 
wells. It is just land out in the country. Until recently there were no 
streets out there. They are very slow about paving colored streets all over 
the city." 11 


"In the west end it is hard to get finances for either white or colored, 
but in this section, where better classes live, there is no trouble in getting 
finance at all. . . . Financing is not so difficult in the industrial suburb 
where Negroes work. It is a regular labor town, and if you have an occu- 
pation they don't pay so much attention to your color. If you can do the 
job, you get it. All of the industries employ colored and pay good prices. 
There are more Negroes employed here as mail carriers than in all of Texas 
combined. There are many professional men. We have 73,000 Negroes in 
the Metropolitan district of Houston, and the only city park for colored is 
in the third ward. There are 63,000 in the city proper. We have no 
difficulty in financing houses in the third ward on about the same terms as 
are available for whites. We are surrounded by whites and they have to 
pass through to get to town and to their subdivisions ; therefore the values 
are most lasting and the sections better kept up. One building and loan as- 
sociation was very active in taking Negro loans; it represented northern 
capital. It is called the San Jacinto Trust Company. Its brokerage charges 
were usually 5 per cent, and they allowed the terms of payment to be made 
according to the type of home. You could make monthly payments or a term 
loan, but most of them used the monthly payment plan. That is usually 
at the rate of $1.25 per month per $100. On a $2,000 loan that would be $25 
per month, including interest charges. Some arrange it at 1 per cent on 
ordinary loans. They have a system of 'On or before' in which you can 
pay on or before a certain date with a stated amount of interest. There 
are not very many elaborate homes in the ward, but we have modern equip- 
ment and moderate homes. The average price is about $3,500. 

"Several building companies are building for colored as little as $100 down 
and $35 per month, which is about the same amount they would have to 
pay for rent. 

"There's an iron-clad rule among building and mortgage companies not to 
lend any money on unimproved streets; they must be shelled, gravelled, or 
permanently paved a good thing for colored people, for they want to sell 
badly enough and they will work for the street improvement. The main 
problem here is an economic one. If a man is earning $200 a month he can 
own and live in a pretty nice place, and there are hundreds of people here 
making that much and lots making much more." ia 

11 Cited by Carter Wesley, Attorney and Real Estate Agent, in interview. 

12 Cited by Mr. Oscar Pope, Real Estate Agent, 2618 Holman Street, 
Houston, Texas, in interview. 


In New Orleans the financing of Negro property has been very 
largely in the hands of a few persons who specialize in Negro 
homes. They place credit terms within their reach and get, in 
return, a good profit from the sale. 

"The usual method of buying is to get a homestead to finance the project, 
making a mortgage, down payment, and a note for 30, 60 and 90 days. 
These they can take up and extend with interest as they fall due. Unless 
you are going to own a number of houses there is really no advantage in 
owning a home here; taxes are so high, and, if you are buying, it is the 
heavy taxes plus the payments that are a hardship. If you are buying a 
$4,000 home the payments will run around $40 per month, and the taxes will 
be about $20. Then there are water taxes and so forth, so there is no great 
incentive for home ownership." 18 

* * * * * 

"The usual charge in home buying is 20 per cent down payment and the 
rest in installments. If the house costs $3,000 you would pay 20 per cent 
down and $30 per month. There is a Jewish builder who does a lot of 
building for Negroes. The client pays for the labor done in building and 
he furnishes the material, builds the home, and then turns it over to a home- 
stead who buys the material from him, and the buyers pay the homestead. 
He has financed some very good homes in this way. This means that one 
must have his home built for him ; that is, pay for the labor and you usually 
have to have your lot. The building and loan agencies usually work the 
same way. They don't seem to have any trouble getting credit." " 


"Most of the homes are bought through the homestead plan by poor 
colored and whites. You buy the lot, they build and supervise the building 
and lend you money and let you pay it back on a monthly basis like rent, 
with interest of 7j4 to 8^2 per cent. There are some lumber companies that 
will furnish you lumber and take your note, but 90 per cent of the poor buy 
from the homesteads. I presume that the colored have about the same rates 
as the whites. . . ." M 

When homes are bought through the homestead plan the pros- 
pective home owner buys the lot and the builder loans money for 
the building and supervises the construction, allowing the client 
to pay back the amount like rent, over a long period. One such 
builder explained to an investigator that there must be taken into 
account, in the cost, a certain "moral risk." "It is thought," he 
added, "that the Negro will pay today and won't pay tomorrow; 

13 Cited by the Reverend N. A. Holmes, 2307 Bienville Street, New Or- 
leans, in interview. 

"Cited by Mrs. W. O. Sazon, Standard Life Insurance Company, New 
Orleans, in interview. 

15 Cited by Dr. J. A. Hardin, 1925 N. Rocheblave Street, New Orleans, in 


he will move overnight or something, but the Negro is not a bit 
worse than the poor whites of the same economic class." 

In Louisville, Kentucky, the most common arrangement is a 
down payment of 10 to 20 per cent and monthly payments averag- 
ing about 1 per cent of the value of the property. Many of the 
homes have first and second mortgages. Consequently, when the 
depression was felt hardest the homes were easily lost. 

There is a Negro concern, the Standard Realty Company, which 
has assisted Negroes in home buying in this city. Its purpose is 
to encourage Negroes to save and to make loans on homes. They 
pay 6 per cent on deposits. The regular rates of building and 
loan associations are charged, and they advance only 50 to 65 per 
cent of the total cost. Loans are limited to $5,000. 

Another successful Negro building and loan society is in Vir- 
ginia, the People's Building and Loan Association Among 
Negroes, organized in 1889. It is one of the largest such con- 
cerns, with assets equal to the assets of all Negro building and 
loan associations in Virginia, and fourth in rank of all such asso- 
ciations, white and Negro. 16 

The position of Negroes in relation to the. means of financing 
home owning is yet unfortunate. In this situation there have been 
several suggestions with reasonable intent, aimed at striking a 
balance between Negro needs and resources. Mr. John E. Nail, 
of New York, who as a real estate dealer and one interested in the 
larger welfare of the Negro population, calls attention to one 
potential resource which has not yet been adequately tested : 

"Savings banks throughout the country carry large Negro deposits. They 
are not inclined to give Negroes the same mortgage accommodation that 
they give other racial groups. 

"In the mass Negro population in America there is a great reservoir of 
capital that is not active in their interest. The Negro has not had the oppor- 
tunity to learn the value of investments. His mass reservoir of capital should 
be harnessed and utilized for home financing. It is impossible for the Negro 
to operate financing institutions without contact and interracial cooperation. 

"Title companies in the City of New York are engaged in the mortgage 
lending business. They make a $10,000 loan based on a certain appraisement 
by an accredited appraiser, lending 60 or 65 per cent of the appraised value 
of the property. The $10,000 loan is divided into certificates of $10, $100, 
$500 and $1,000 units and these mortgage certificates, as they are called, are 
sold to the general public with the company's guarantee for the payment of 
principal and interest. 

18 Davis, Don A., "Using the Building and Loan Associations," Southern 
Workman, November, 1927, Vol. 56, pp. 493-496. 


"While I am one person who does not feel as white America does that it 
is possible for Negroes to finance and operate the things they require as a 
racial group without contact, I do believe, if such a reservoir of capital 
could be harnessed and successfully operated, it could prove to America 
that it is possible for them to harness and operate this capital successfully 
as a racial group. There would be in a short time, competing entities 
from other racial groups who would seek investments in the fields in which 
these were being made. I see no other hope for reasonable accommodation 
in home financing for Negroes except, perhaps, through the medium of 
some well intentioned or philanthropically inclined group of people of large 
material substance, who would draw together capital for this purpose. 

"The Housing Conference should endorse the President's Home Loan 
Bank plan. The Negro should be given representation on the commission. 
A population of twelve million has interest and purchasing power that 
require proper appraisement, protection and development." 

Dr. L. F. Burbridge, President of the Louisiana Industrial Life 
Insurance Company, New Orleans, Louisiana, suggests that it 
would be feasible in the light of consideration of a system of Fed- 
eral Home Loan Banks, to admit such of the Negro Insurance 
Companies as have sufficient assets and a substantial rating to the 
privilege of borrowing from this bank on the same basis as the 
Building and Loan Associations. Many of these Insurance Com- 
panies, which are members of the National Negro Insurance Asso- 
ciation, are, he feels, in position to provide acceptable security for 
such loans, and this arrangement, intended for relief of this type, 
would materially aid in the financing of Negro homes. 

Negroes as Credit Risks 

The factors which make Negroes a class risk are based upon 
the logic of their unfavorable circumstances. When, family for 
family, their record is studied, however, it does not appear to be 
as dismal as these circumstances should warrant. Miss Madge 
Headley visited a large group of bankers and brokerage real estate 
dealers and builders in Chicago in 1917, and again in 1928, when 
Negroes first began to buy and as they reached the normal termi- 
nation of the extended period of payments. Of their reactions, 
she had this to say: 

"Negroes are standing this test of borrowing for home buying, and are 
steadily overcoming the prejudice against lending money to them, though 
this is still one of the greatest obstacles to home owning. Their own financial 
institutions are commencing to influence loan money, but the difficulties in 
securing this type of small loans are still great. 

"Negroes are also standing the test of payments running over a period 


of ten or twelve years, and have belied their general reputation for hand- 
to-mouth living. In every city studied, white and colored bankers, brokers, 
real estate dealers and builders stated that families buying a home rarely 
default, except because of some disaster, or very poor judgment in buying. 
One dealer who had sold 700 houses in five years had had only three fore- 
closures, and another who had sold 900 houses had had none. There is, how- 
ever, a decided tendency to get behind in payments, which makes it necessary 
for those who collect to be both patient and persistent in keeping them 
regular." 1T 

One general study of the Negro as a credit risk has been made 
by Professor Paul K. Edwards, of the Department of Economics 
of Fisk University. 18 The results of his study, which covered 
some seventeen cities of the South and store credit as well as real 
estate loans, were as follows : 

''Upon several occasions in the conduct of this study prominent white indi- 
viduals have evidenced surprise that there is such a thing as Negro credit. 
As a matter of fact there are many excellent credit risks among Negroes in 
the urban South. The small numbers of accounts on the books of the better 
stores are invariably good risks. An analysis of Negro credit ratings in 
the Blue Book published annually by the Birmingham Merchants' Credit 
Association shows that of 114 ratings for Negro railroad laborers, 47.3 per 
cent were good or fair; that 54 per cent of 170 credit ratings for Negro 
employees of an important iron and coal company were either good or fair. 
A study of sections of the files of the Credit Service Exchange in Atlanta 
found that of 267 credit ratings for Negro common laborers, 51.3 per cent 
were prompt pay, and 82 per cent were either prompt or fair pay; that of 
165 credit ratings for Negro skilled laborers, 50.9 per cent were prompt pay, 
and 85 per cent were prompt or fair pay. Finally, an analysis made of 
the credit standing of 500 Negroes regarding whom information was re- 
quested of the Nashville Retail Credit Bureau during several days' time by 
all kinds of enterprises is of interest here. Of 413 Negroes from common 
and semi-skilled labor families, 46.1 per cent were rated either fair or good 
risks by the Bureau; of 87 Negroes from skilled labor families, 49.3 per 
cent were rated either fair or good credit risks ; of 100 Negroes from busi- 
ness and professional families 57 per cent were either good or fair. 

"Those enterprisers interviewed in the conduct of this study who deal 
largely with the laboring classes of whites and Negroes reported them, in 
the great majority of cases, about on a par as credit risks. Real estate 
dealers stated almost universally that from their experience the Negro labor 
tenant is at least as good a risk as the white laborer. Several industrial 
banks and loan companies dealing with large numbers of labor families 

17 Headley, Madge, "Housing," (Woofter, T. J. Jr. and Associates, Negro 
Problems in Cities, Garden City, N. Y., Doubleday, Doran and Company, 
Inc., 1928), p. 143. 

18 Edwards, Paul K., The Southern Urban Negro as a Consumer, New 
York, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1932, pp. 116-119. 


have found that Negro labor is as good a risk as white labor. The pro- 
prietors and managers of 'instalment credit' clothing houses interviewed 
have in a majority of cases discovered no appreciable difference between 
whites and Negroes as credit risks or perhaps we should say collection 
risks that both are bad. The business of the 'instalment credit' house is 
with fairly comparable groups of Negroes and whites, although even here 
Negroes from common and semi-skilled labor families are almost sure to 
make up a larger proportion of the Negro patronage than do whites of this 
occupation group of the total white patronage. From certain angles they 
find the Negro an easier subject from which to collect; from others a more 
difficult one. To threaten him with the law has a more immediate in- 
fluence. Realizing his helplessness at the hands of the law the Negro usually 
will not fight back, while the white man will. . . . 

"Because of the widely differing proportions of the Negro and white 
population in each occupation classification, in the South's large cities, it is 
exceedingly unfair to compare the two races as a whole as credit risks. 
Equitable comparisons can be made only between occupation classes. For 
example, a reasonable comparison would be between 75 per cent of the 
Negro group and the 25 per cent of the white group in common and semi- 
skilled labor families. Studies of the comparative percentages of the Negro 
and white credit customers of the better stores in each occupation class, 
however, show how exceedingly difficult, if not impossible it is, to make 
such comparisons. There are very few white common and semi-skilled 
labor accounts on the books of this class of store ; there are more accounts 
with Negro families of this occupation classification than any other. More- 
over, because of the small percentage of Negro laborers employed at skilled 
work there are very few Negro skilled labor accounts in the credit records. 
In Nashville in 1920 only 9.1 per cent of the male and female Negroes gain- 
fully occupied were employed as skilled labor ; 26.6 per cent of the male and 
female whites were in this occupation class. Unless comparisons of the 
labor families of the two races as credit risks are planned and executed 
with extreme care, therefore, they are almost sure to be largely between 
Negro common and semi-skilled laborers on the one hand and white skilled 
laborers on the other." 

A principal difficulty for them seems to be that those dealers 
who could provide good homes at a reasonable figure consider the 
per capita wealth of the group, as a class, too small to insure 
reasonable profits. The homes required are small ; the terms must 
be easy and extended over a long period. To make it a profitable 
investment there must be increased charges, and these are in part 
counterbalanced by the cost of collection. As a result there is 
usually little new construction, and buying is limited to old 
dwellings which no one else wants. There is, it would seem, no 
more clear demand for a substitute for the present conditions of 
private building than on the matter of homes for this class of the 



One of the first experiments in model housing for Negroes was 
that conducted by the Cincinnati Model Homes Company, begun 
in 1912. Apartments were provided for about 300 Negro fami- 
lies. Although it began as a risk, it was found that results, both 
social and financial, exceeded estimates. This venture was inaugu- 
rated by Jacob G. Schmidlapp. The cost was $250 per room. 
Some of the houses were sold on the rental plan, with $100 for 
initial payment and a weekly payment of $3.10 for ten years. At 
the end of ten years the purchaser got the deed to the house sub- 
ject to a mortgage of $600 at 5 per cent or $30 a year to be paid 
off at his convenience. The average earning of the Negroes was 
$16 a week; that of the whites from 10 to 20 per cent more. Both 
paid, on an average, about one-fifth of their weekly earnings in 
rent. The small group proved a success, and the places were 
extended for Negroes and whites. After fourteen years the ex- 
periment has yielded results which may be profitable to study. In 
the matter of vacancies and default of payment, between 1924 and 
1928, with approximately equal numbers, the losses from default 
were $504.62 for Negroes and $853.01 for whites. In the Wash- 
ington Terrace group with 600 Negroes, there were 39 arrests 
over a fourteen-year period, or one arrest for every 215 individuals 
per year. The rate for the City of Cincinnati in 1923 was one for 
every fifteen whites and one for every seven and a half Negroes. 
The mortality was fifteen per thousand as compared with twenty- 
five per thousand for the entire city. As a corporation, the 5 per 
cent dividends to stockholders have always been paid, the 2 per 
cent depreciation (now amounting to $180,000) laid aside, and 
$90,000 accumulated in surplus. 

The Michigan Boulevard Garden Apartments sought to test 
the practicability of investments in Negro housing. Before any 
step was taken by Mr. Rosenwald, a survey was conducted with 
a view to determining the actual needs of the Negro population. 
It appeared that three-, four- and five-room apartments were in 
greatest demand. Accordingly in 1929 the Michigan Boulevard 
Garden Apartments were thus built and occupied an entire city 



block on the south side of Chicago, with accommodation for 417 
families. It is five stories in height and covers less than 40 per 
cent of the 6 acres of land involved. The apartments are modern 
in every respect, all apartments being centrally heated from a cen- 
tral oil-burning heating system, furnished with electric refrigera- 
tors and combination tub and shower baths. In the center of the 
block there is a large central garden covering 3 acres of land 
in which there are planted trees and shrubs. There is a play- 
ground for the smaller children in the garden and a sun-room on 
the roof. The building is fireproof and involves an expenditure of 

The rents, as might be expected on the basis of the substantial 
necessities and comforts provided, are somewhat high. The three- 
room apartments, which consist of living-room, kitchen, bedroom, 
and bath, average from $17 to $18 per room; the four-room apart- 
ments, from $14.50 to $18 per room; and five-room apartments, 
from $13 to $16 per room. After the first six months of opera- 
tion, 98 per cent of the apartments had been taken. The building 
was netting 6 per cent on the capital investment, and there had 
been loss by default of only about one-eighth of one per cent. After 
a year of operation, Mr. Rosenwald expressed his satisfaction 
with the success of the venture. 

The Model Homes Company has attempted during the last 
eighteen months to construct a series of buildings designed to 
house about three hundred and fifty additional Negro families. 
Ten acres of ground were purchased for the site of the new build- 
ings. Although the land was adjacent to a Negro community, the 
white people in that vicinity objected to the extension of the 
Negro area. Blue prints for this project had been drawn, so the 
Model Homes Company, for the past year and a half, has been 
looking, without success, for a new location. It is estimated that 
this project will cost a million and a half dollars. Four-room 
apartments were designed to rent for $30 per month. "Racial 
attitudes and implications" have prevented the carrying out of this 
project. 1 

According to the Better Housing League of Cincinnati, the 
housing agencies are interested in encouraging and controlling 
the development of carefully selected subdivisions for the Negro. 

1 Correspondence with Negro Civic Welfare Association, Cincinnati, Ohio. 


A kitchen in a modern apartment house for Negroes. 


"In the past, there have been some subdivisions opened up by unscrupulous 
real estate men who have taken advantage of Negroes so that many of them 
have lost their investments. There are, as you know, many different ideas 
on this subject, and up to this time the people interested in the projects 
have not entirely agreed upon a way to work it out. However, we hope 
that in a few years it may be possible to plan such a project." 

The two most notable ventures in model housing for Negroes 
are the Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments in New York City 
sponsored by Mr. John D. Rockefeller, designed to be sold, 
and the Michigan Boulevard Garden Apartments in Chicago 
sponsored by Mr. Julius Rosenwald, built to be rented. For the 
Dunbar Apartments, the building and land involved an outlay of 
$3,330,000, on which a moderate interest of 5 per cent is ex- 
pected. Tenants only can be stockholders and stockholders only 
can be tenants. They subscribe to the amount of stock represented 
by the cost of the apartment which they select. The down pay- 
ment called for $50 per room. A three-year lease is given, with 
the privilege of renewing each year thereafter. The tenants pay 
an average of $14.50 per room per month, of which 54 per cent 
is principal and interest and 46 per cent upkeep, taxes, insurance 
and other things. In twenty-two years the tenants will have paid 
the principal. There are 511 apartments, many social features 
including nurseries and playgrounds, an employment service, polic- 
ing and meticulous inspections. 2 More, it is a community. 

The type and cost of the venture made it evident that only 
Negroes of more than average means could take possession. The 
largest single group of occupants is given as clerks with 100. The 
median monthly earning was $148.86. 

The incentive supplied by the success of the Paul Laurence 
Dunbar development in New York and the Julius Rosenwald de- 
velopment in Chicago has led to a movement in Detroit for the 
establishment of a similar project there. This group, it is said, 
has the advice and counsel of the Detroit City Planning Commis- 
sion but the plan is now being held in abeyance because of the 
present economic situation. 

In Newark, New Jersey, the Prudential Life Insurance Com- 
pany has planned a development of model apartments for Negroes 
in the Third Ward. The project became involved in litigation as 
to the right of the city to purchase and maintain as public open 

2 Data prepared by Roscoe C. Bruce, Resident Manager. 


space some of the unbuilt-upon land in connection with the project. 
Its right to do so has been upheld by the highest court of New 
Jersey. 3 

In many small cities housing projects have been discussed by 
interracial committees and other groups of leading citizens, but 
nothing definite has resulted. In Wilmington, Delaware, where 
the housing problems of Negroes have been most outstanding 
since the war, the Citizens Housing Corporation has been trying 
to secure modern homes for Negroes and do away with many 
shacks that have been rented to the group. It is said that the 
group is making rather slow progress. 

In Little Rock, Arkansas, a new development called Booker 
Terrace has been developed since 1925. The changes that have 
taken place since the migration indicate that, except for a few 
exclusive white suburban neighborhoods, for the most part all 
types of real estate are being opened to Negroes. In most neigh- 
borhoods both colored and white people reside, sometimes on op- 
posite sides of the streets, sometimes side by side. One real 
estate operator suggests that "the depression has forced the lower- 
ing of real estate and the opening up of desirable property to 
prospective Negro landowners." Servant quarters are disappear- 
ing, though there have been no apartment houses built. There is 
an increasing tendency toward home ownership among Negroes. 
In many cases people took on the responsibility of home owner- 
ship without adequate incomes, with the result that there have 
been many losses of homes partially paid for during the past two 
or three years. 

The most outstanding change is recorded in Philadelphia, where 
the Negro population has gained in increasing numbers in nine 
additional wards since the time of the Woof ter study. There have 
been a few new homes constructed in some sections. Meanwhile, 
the old neighborhoods have continued to deteriorate, and families 
desiring better living conditions have been forced to seek them in 
new areas slowly coming into the hands of Negro tenants. There 
have been but few changes in North and South Philadelphia, 
while West Philadelphia and Germantown have been more pro- 
gressive in that there have been several apartment houses and 
rows of homes built recently for colored people. According to 

8 Simon v. O'Toole, 155 Atl 449; N. J. Advance Reports and Weekly 
Law Review, Vol, 10, No. 10, March 5, 1932, p. 124. 


the Armstrong Association of Philadelphia, the following projects 
have been developed in Philadelphia since 1928: 

"In Germantown, the Montana Gardens Apartments are most comfortable 
with modern heating and refrigeration systems. There are 43 apartments 
of the two- and three-room types. They rent for $8 and $11 per week. 

"The Booker T. Washington Apartments are located in West Philadelphia 
at 761 N. 47th Street. There are 268 rooms in the three units of the build- 
ing. The apartments consist of from one to four rooms and their rental 
varies from $25 to $52. 

"230 E. Sharpnack Street: 8 modern apartments. Heating, refrigeration 
systems, Murphy beds. Rentals $35 to $40 per month." 

Other accommodations built for Negro renters are located as 
follows : 

"A complete modern block formed by 47th, Olive, 48th and Aspen Streets. 
The homes are of the six-room type, with kitchen and bath ; laundry equip- 
ment in the basement. Rentals average $40 per month. 

"Eighteen houses on one side of the 4800 block of Brown Street with 
four more of the same construction extending around the corner on 49th 
Street. Each with 8 modern rooms and renting for $45 to $50 per month. 

"Six homes in the 300 block E. Upsal Street, Germantown; 7 modern 
rooms and garage that rent for $45 per month." 

However, there are a number of problems attending these develop- 

The Octavia Hill Association in Philadelphia has been one of 
the agencies very definitely interested in the problem of Negro 
housing. One investigator reports : 

"It seems, in direct contrast to the high purpose that prompted its origin, 
the Octavia Hill Association had been forced to subordinate its social better- 
ment motive, more or less, to the necessity of making the venture continue 
to pay dividends, and thereby subsist during these times when much stronger 
professional real estate companies were being forced to the wall." 

Social workers, health authorities, probation officers and the like 
all believe that the project has been of aid in improving the lives 
of the families occupying the dwellings improved by the Associa- 
tion. However, the project has been far from ideal as a housing 
experiment when it is considered that : 

"The ideal would necessitate the destruction of entire blocks in certain 
sections of old Philadelphia, with sanitary modern dwellings constructed in 
their place; a wholesale renovating of most of the homes with up-to-date 
approved conveniences ; some method of relieving overcrowding, especially 
when this is occasioned by families being forced to take lodgers into the 
home to meet exorbitant rents. The Association had not sufficient resources 


for such extensive improvements nor were they able to confine their activi- 
ties to a single area where intensive planning would affect an entire neigh- 
borhood. What they have been able to do is to take over and improve 
exceptional cases of dilapidated dwellings throughout poor areas of the city 
and afterwards play the part of a good landlord. Care has been exercised in 
each case in the selection of tenants so as to offer the homes only to those 
families which showed most promise of social and economic advancement 
in a healthy, clean environment families that without such an opportunity 
would probably never be able to rise above their old environs. There have 
been approximately 200 such dwellings owned or managed by the Octavia 
Hill Association, that are occupied by Negro families in various parts of 
the city." * 

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Negroes because of their 
low economic status tend to concentrate in the poorest districts 
even as in other cities, the Pittsburgh Housing Association is at- 
tempting to raise the standards of the poorest housing permitted 
in the city, thereby improving housing conditions for Negroes. 
Although there is a surplus of dwellings in the lowest rental class, 
the Association has been emphasizing the desirability of demolish- 
ing the worst houses to prevent their being occupied. During the 
first six months of 1931, more houses were demolished than dur- 
ing any other twelve-month period. Meanwhile, Negroes have 
been moving into better districts beyond the boundaries of their 
former areas of occupancy. The result has been a change in the 
center of Negro population. The Pittsburgh Urban League has 
been stimulating housing improvement among the Negroes with 
the cooperation of the Pittsburgh Housing Association. In the 
past five years there have been only two small housing projects: 
One, a seven- family apartment house ; the other, eleven unattached 
single-family houses, all modern conveniences, which were first 
offered for sale at $7,500 each but later rented at $65 per month. 
Our informant adds this interesting comment : 

"They have remained occupied and have continued to bring in the amount 
of rental which they demanded a year or two ago, in spite of the depression, 
and in spite of the present surplus of houses in the Negro neighborhood." 

There has been some industrial housing for Negroes. Leifur 
Magnusson's rather comprehensive survey of industrial housing 
developments, published as a Bulletin of the United States Bu- 
reau of Labor Statistics, 1920, found a certain amount of segre- 
gation in company towns. The most notable company develop- 

*Data Supplied to Group on Social and Economic Factors, T. Arnold 
Hill, Chairman. 


ments are at Alcoa, Tennessee; Baden, North Carolina; The 
Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company, and the American 
Cast Iron Pipe Company on the outskirts of Birmingham; the 
Reynolds Tobacco Company at Winston- Salem, North Carolina; 
and the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company in Ohio. The 
experience of the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company was 
qualified. The houses were actually built by a subsidiary con- 
cern, the Youngstown Land Company. They erected in 1918 and 
1919 some 135 concrete, two-, three- and four-room houses to be 
rented to Negroes. All had baths, electricity and water. Said 
the company: 

"From the beginning our experience with them has not been very satis- 
factory. While there are always exceptional cases, we have found that good 
houses, good surroundings and good wages, which they had for some years, 
have had practically no effect on their living standards. While this com- 
pany made no effort in social betterment other than the weeding out from 
the community of gross offenders, there was constant work along this line 
going on in the City of Campbell, where these houses are located. After 
about nine years of effort, the lessening desirability of the Negro in in- 
dustrial works began to cause many vacant houses, and steps were taken 
to convert the colony, block by block, into quarters for white foreign 
workers. To the present time, 63 houses have been so taken over, leaving 
72 still remaining for Negroes. 

"In addition to the above group of 135 houses, this company has had many 
Negro tenants in other locations about the Youngstown District, but usually 
they did not have so many conveniences such as bathrooms. It seems to 
me that they get along as well or better in these older and less convenient 
houses where rents are lower and social requirements are less." 

The American Rolling Mill Company in Middletown, Ohio, built 
200 homes of four and five rooms, semi-modern toilet, city water, 
sinks, electricity and sewers and sold them to Negroes at prices 
ranging from $1,600 to $2,250. In addition to this a school and 
community center were built; playgrounds, swimming pools and 
ball diamonds provided. "We regard Bon Veue" (the settlement), 
the personnel manager said, "as one of the most attractive sub- 
divisions for colored people, and there are a lot of mighty fine 
folks living there." 

The United States Government built the town of Truxton, 5 in 
Virginia, near Portsmouth, during the war. It has since been 
bought by Negroes. 

"The town of Truxton, Norfolk County, Virginia, was located originally 

5 Memorandum prepared by Fred D. McCracken, formerly Operating 
Manager, Truxton. 


just outside the city limits of Portsmouth, Virginia. This town was con- 
structed by the United States Housing Corporation, which was an agency 
of the United States Department of Labor, and was known as United States 
Housing Project No. 1,500. 

"Truxton, Va., was one of the many housing projects constructed by the 
Government during the World War to provide suitable housing facilities for 
war workers in different sections of the country wherever the manufacture 
of munitions or shipbuilding was in progress. Truxton was the only such 
project built for colored war workers by the Government and was designed 
primarily to take care of the employees at the Portsmouth and Norfolk 
Navy Yards. 

"The location of the town was ideal for that part of the country, the 
town being built on the highest point in Norfolk County. 

"Ample transportation facilities into the City of Portsmouth and to the 
Navy Yards were provided by street car. 

"The officials of the United States Housing Corporation had in mind the 
establishment of a model town. They built two hundred and fifty houses of 
frame construction, all being of the same material, there being differences, 
however, in exterior design. Most of the houses contained five rooms, and 
were designed for single families, though of the total number constructed, 
twenty-six were designed to accommodate two families. Each house was 
equipped with bathroom, running water, sewer connections, standard sinks 
and bowls, and electricity. 

"The lots of the single houses measured 28 x 100 feet and of the double 
houses 40 x 100 feet. Shrubs, plants and flowers were placed about each 
house. There were no alleys, the houses being separated from each other 
by neat wire fences. 

"There was a store block containing four stores, with eight apartments 
above. This block housed a drug store, general merchandise store, barber 
shop and dry goods store. 

"The streets were 50 feet wide, were paved, and were amply lighted. 

"There was a large public park, which was beautifully landscaped and 
which contained a wide variety of beautiful vines, shrubs and flowers. 

"The town contained one of the most modern school buildings to be found 
anywhere in the South, with ample grounds and facilities for recreation. 

"There was a regular police force comprised of two men, who worked in 
twelve-hour shifts. There was also a police reserve unit, composed of resi- 
dents of the community. 

"There was a volunteer fire brigade, although the Portsmouth Fire De- 
partment responded to any call sent in. 

"The very highest standards of sanitation and hygiene were maintained 
at all times. Garbage was collected daily. The health of the members of 
the community was excellent, as the system of sanitation that was established 
was rigidly enforced. 

"In addition to other facilities for the residents, there was a well-stocked 
public library. Community activities were many and varied. There was a 
Mothers' Club, athletic organization, and three secret fraternal organiza- 
tions, and one of the barracks formerly used by one of the construction gangs 
was converted into a church. 


"The rental charge for a five-room cottage was $18 per month. 

"From 1919, when the project was completed, until 1920, the operation 
and government of the town was under an official known as Operating Man- 
ager, appointed by the United States Housing Corporation of the Department 
of Labor. This town was considered by the United States Housing Corpora- 
tion during the period of its operation as being one of the most successful 
housing projects operated by the Government, and was so located that it 
was a community by itself, situated on the road from Portsmouth to points 

"There was practically no disorder during the entire period of operation. 
In fact, not a single arrest was made. This was really remarkable, consider- 
ing the fact that some fifteen hundred persons resided in the town. The 
Operating Manager heard and settled minor disputes among neighbors or 
members of family groups. 

"We were able to instil a spirit of race and civic pride among the resi- 
dents, who thoroughly comprehended the original aim and desire to make it 
a model town from every point of view. To the residents belongs the credit 
of making the experiment an unqualified success." 

"In 1920, the Government ordered the sale of the property. It was sold 
on a basis of 60 per cent of its original value, 5 per cent in cash, and the 
balance in deferred payments at the rate of 1 per cent per month. In other 
words, a single house sold on an average of $1,800 : $90 down and $18 per 
month, including interest. 

"All the property was bought by colored people. . . . All public utilities, 
including the school, were turned over to the city of Portsmouth. Ports- 
mouth extended its corporate limits so as to include the town of Truxton, 
the latter becoming a part of the city of Portsmouth. 

"The Truxton experiment was considered a success from every angle by 
housing experts and government officials, and it is thought that it could be 
easily duplicated in practically any state of the Union, especially in the 
South, where the housing problem is especially acute among Negroes. . . ." 

Some interest in Negro housing has been stimulated by Better 
Homes in America. Their purposes, as stated, are to make in- 
formation available about high standards in house building, home 
furnishing and home life, encourage the building of sound, beau- 
tiful, simple family houses, and encourage the reconditioning and 
remodeling of old houses, and kindred matters. In June of 1931, 
Mrs. Helen Storrow reported that 674 committees were organized 
in all parts of the United States during 1930 to arrange for the 
participation of Negro citizens in a nation-wide better homes 

The will of Negroes, is, to a most pronounced degree, for 
homes and better homes. But, on the basis of the data herein 
set forth, they have been, perhaps, more seriously handicapped 
than any other group in America in getting them. 


1. In view of the desperate conditions brought out in this study of Negro 
and other minority groups, we recommend that a National Housing Com- 
mission be appointed by the President whose function shall be to serve as a 
research commission, to encourage states to pass adequate housing laws, and 
to suggest administrative measures for enforcement of state and municipal 

2. In those states in which there are not adequate housing laws, we recom- 
mend that a state commission be appointed to secure adequate legislation 
and to investigate conditions with a view to correction through various state 
and municipal channels. We further recommend that this commission be 
interracial, nonpolitical, and nonpartisan. 

3. We recommend that each municipality maintain a permanent commis- 
sion whose function it shall be to investigate housing conditions and to pre- 
sent for adoption specific ordinances suited to the community housing needs, 
and to provide controls for the enforcement of these ordinances. In this 
connection we recommend that interracial groups seek the cooperation of 
city officials and civic organizations to secure necessary improvements in 
Negro sections. 

4. We recommend that Negroes follow the trend in urban communities 
and move out into subdivisions in which modern homes can be built. 

5. In the blighted areas we recommend that the houses which are legally 
condemned shall be razed or so closed that habitation cannot continue. We 
recommend the abolition of alley dwellings. The building space can be 
used profitably for garages and warehouses. 

6. For the interstitial areas the recommendations would range all the way 
from razing to rehabilitation, razing the deteriorated and condemned build- 
ings near the business section and rehabilitation for the better houses farther 
removed from the business area. It is further recommended that in this 
area new housing projects should be undertaken. 

7. In the area of substantial construction we recommend that the following 
resources be used to create public opinion in order to establish controls among 
the Negroes themselves when municipal or state regulations fall down with 
reference to housing : Urban Leagues and other civic agencies, newspapers, 
neighborhood associations, business organizations, especially colored insur- 
ance companies, women's clubs, churches, Y. M. C. A.'s, and parent-teacher 

8. Because of the prevalence of influences in Negro neighborhoods which 
tend to destroy, we recommend that responsible, established welfare agen- 
cies include in their general program the formation of neighborhood clubs, 
ward organizations, and other devices to create public opinion for: Better 
appearances of the individual home ; better aesthetic taste within the home ; 
organization of clean-up and paint-up campaigns; beautification of lawns, 
the planting of trees and shrubbery ; cleaner backyards and alleys. 



9. We believe that the rapid development of the converted kitchenette 
apartment constitutes a moral and physical hazard of first importance, and 
we recommend that an exhaustive study be made to determine its effects 
with reference to deterioration of property, congestion, sanitary conditions, 
health, and morals. 5 

10. It is recommended that special consideration be given housing for 
urban people with incomes of $1,000 a year and rural dwellers with incomes 
as low as $750 a year, and that civic-minded people be induced to establish 
adequate financing agencies at reasonable interest for people of low incomes. 
None of the large housing investments in America has helped the family 
with a total income of $25 a week. Safe and profitable investments can be 
made in this field and it will be a boon to rural home ownership. In gen- 
eral, housing ventures have looked to people with incomes of $2,000 a year 
or more. If it is not feasible to build low-priced apartments as business 
investments, we recommend that consideration be given to the intervention 
by public funds either through tax relief or through direct subsidy as has 
been done by Vienna and other European cities. 

11. Further recommendations include the encouragement of building and 
loan associations under responsible auspices and the participation of Negroes 
in programs for home betterment sponsored by national organizations. 

12. We recommend the removal of legislation restrictive of Negro resi- 
dence in desirable residence sections of the city where they are able to rent 
or purchase. 

13. We recommend the development of rural social work projects designed 
to encourage the improvement of sanitation, home life, and physical sur- 
roundings of rural Negro families. 

14. We recommend the establishment of minimum standards of housing 
for tenants on plantations. 

15. Rural housing projects among Negroes are retarded for the reason 
that prospective purchasers are charged higher rates of interest, offered 
unfair instalment terms, and have difficulty securing insurance protection. 
Information relative to purchasing, improving and modernizing their homes 
is seldom available to them. We therefore recommend the organization of 
local cooperative associations of Negro home owners and prospective home 
owners for the purpose of enabling community groups to bargain collectively 
for financing facilities. The group acting and working cooperatively would 
be able to secure all information relative to such undertakings, could take 
advantage of bargains offered and the inspiration and strength acquired by 
working together would stimulate activity and progress in rural home 

16. We recommend that there be sought the cooperation of all educa- 
tional and welfare agencies, interested in rural Negroes, for the purpose of 
stimulating practical interest by education and demonstration in housing. 

6 See Appendix VII, "The Kitchenette Apartment," p. 258. 


Further Projects for Study on Housing 6 

"1. A Comparative Study of the Movement of Negro Population 
in Northern and Southern Cities. The material and findings presented in 
this paper have been drawn from northern cities where in recent years the 
Negroes, rapidly increasing in number, have taken the role of an immigrant 
group. Obviously, the factors determining the location and shifting of popu- 
lation groups are quite different in the South. For example, Jesse F. Steiner 
in an unpublished study of the distribution of Negroes in New Orleans finds 
significant correlations of Negro population movement with the varying 
number of feet of depression of various areas below the level of the 
Mississippi River. 

"2. A Comparative Study of Different Types of Negro Communi- 
ties Within a City. In a term paper on the distribution of Negro com- 
munities in St. Louis, Berenice O'Fallon makes an interesting comparison of 
different roles taken by the various neighborhoods in the larger Negro com- 
munity corresponding with their position in the five urban zones. Extending 
from the central business district (I) into the zone of transition (II) are (a) 
the Negro slums along the river frontage frequented by hoboes, dope fiends, 
drunkards; (b) a low grade rooming house district with certain streets 
given over to prostitution, inhabited by low-paid workers in nearby railroad 
yards and factories ; and (c) better furnished rooms where dwell men em- 
ployed as porters, waiters, policy vendors, professional card sharks and 
women working out in service as cooks, maids, chambermaids in hotels and 
laundresses, and where are located such institutions of night life as the 
dance hall, the cabaret and the club house. In the workingmen's zone 
(III) is located (d) a workingmen's district with low rents and little repair 
on dwellings where the men do various kinds of laborious work for a weekly 
pay check of twenty to twenty-five dollars, and the women work in laundries 
and factories, scrub office buildings and do housework by the day. In the 
residential zone (IV) are found (e) a good residential section of fine, 
large homes lately acquired by the Negroes from wealthy owners who 
have moved into palatial apartment buildings or into exclusive suburban 
sections, and (f) a bungalow district in which reside men who are postal 
clerks, mail carriers, small business men and highly paid skilled working- 
men with weekly incomes of forty-five to fifty-five dollars, and women who 
are housewives, stenographers, and elevator and stock girls in department 
stores. In the suburban zone (V) there are located (g) near the wealthy 
suburban districts several small Negro settlements whose inhabitants are 
mainly mulattoes. 

"The statement has been made by Robert E. Park that Negro society is 
not at all homogeneous as erroneously thought by most outsiders, but has 
actually as many, if not more, economic and social gradations as white 
society. In his study of the Negro family in Chicago, E. Franklin Frazier 

6 Items 1 to 6 suggested by Dr. Ernest W. Burgess, "Residential Segrega- 
tion in American Cities," Annals of the American Academy of Political and 
Social Science, November, 1928, Vol. 140. 


is engaged in developing a technique to measure with some degree of pre- 
cision these differences in economic and social status implied in this impres- 
sionistic analysis, from the standpoint of location, of the social structure 
of Negro society in St. Louis. 

"3. A Study of Changes in Land Values Incident to Negro Inva- 
sion of an Area. The entrance of the Negro into a white community re- 
sults in an immediate apparent depreciation in land values. This also results, 
but not always so rapidly, from any other racial or immigrant intrusion or 
from commercial and industrial encroachment No study has, however, been 
made of the long time effect upon land values of Negro settlement. A cursory 
examination of the trend in land values from 1912 to 1928 as entered in 
Olcott's Land Values Blue Book of Chicago seems to indicate that in time 
residential values tend slowly to recover from their losses, but that com- 
mercial values, with little or no check, forge rapidly ahead. 

"The fact is that Negroes frequently acquire sites in the direction of busi- 
ness and industrial growth. A Negro once owned property on Wall Street 
in New York. Two Negro churches with locations in and near the Loop 
in Chicago were able to realize on the sale of their property enough to 
clear their mortgages and to purchase suitable sites further south in dis- 
tricts to which their parishioners had migrated. In the case of the Bethel 
American Methodist Episcopal Church this was possible only through the 
generous assistance of a wealthy white friend who advanced the sums neces- 
sary to prevent foreclosure of the mortgage. 

"More frequently, however, Negro property owners are not in a position 
to take advantage of the future rise in land value. They have not been able 
in New York, for example, to profit as have certain institutions which 
have moved several times because they were able to hold the property until 
they could capitalize on each occasion upon the increase in land values. 

"In certain cases where clashes have occurred upon the invasion by the 
Negro of a white residential area, a period of quiet follows in which it would 
seem that the Negroes have been kept out. But actual study shows that in 
many cases the reverse is true. The Negro really had acquired property, and 
his progress of penetration continued peacefully until he had obtained pos- 
session of the neighborhood. These situations merit further investigation. 

"4. Density of Population in Negro Settlements Density Height 
of Buildings. Woofter in his volume Negro Problems in Cities, shows 
that the density per acre is much greater for Negroes than for whites in the 
same city. He also indicates that the density in Negro settlements varies 
widely. An examination of the census tracts for Chicago showed, however, 
that the density of population in certain immigrant settlements, particularly 
the Polish, was much higher than in any Negro neighborhood. In general, the 
density of population in Negro neighborhoods was practically the same as 
that of other neighborhoods in the same urban zone. Further study should 
be made in order to determine whether or not in other cities the density 
of population is greater or less in Negro than in white neighborhoods in the 
same urban zone. In any study of rates of density of population, it is al- 
ways desirable to distinguish between neighborhoods by prevailing type of 
dwellings and height of buildings as between single homes, two-flat and 


tenement or apartment houses, and one-story, two-story, or many-story 

"5. A Study of Rents in Negro Neighborhoods. All investigations of 
rents in Negro areas show that on the average rents are higher for Negroes 
than for whites. These studies, however, are generally made in times of a 
housing crisis for the Negroes and in periods of Negro migration into 
the city. It would be desirable to study rents for the different types of 
Negro neighborhoods in the city to determine more accurately the factors 
making for higher rent, and, if possible, the conditions under which rents 
are stabilized at the level prevailing in white neighborhoods. 

"6. A Study of the Proximity of Vice Resorts and Negro Districts. 
In many cities, as Chicago, Kansas City, Buffalo, Springfield, Illinois, Fort 
Wayne, Indiana, Topeka, Kansas, vice has been located in openly recognized 
segregated districts or in concealed resorts within or adjacent to Negro 
districts. Presumably the Negro has been forced to seek these areas for 
residence because of his difficulty in gaining entrance to better residential 
districts. With the abolition of segregated districts, new institutions have 
made their appearance in the city like the cabaret and the closed dance hall. 
So-called 'black and tan' cabarets and night clubs run openly in New York, 
Chicago, Los Angeles. No adequate study of the role and function of these 
institutions has as yet been made. They demand further study as one phase 
of the interesting drama of race relations in our largest American cities." 

7. Negro Rural Housing. A study of physical and social problems of 
housing in selected rural communities together with inquiries into the 
standard of living and earning capacity of Negro families engaged in agri- 
cultural work. 

8. Standards of Living of the Various Economic Classes of the 
Negro Population. 

9. Standards of Living of Negro Families in the North and South. 

10. The operation of housing projects for Negroes, with comparison 
of such social factors as morbidity, mortality, delinquency, illegitimacy, etc., 
with groups of families in unsupervised housing areas. 

11. A study of Negro home ownership, including methods by which 
ownership of property is commonly acquired ; the effects of credit ; rela- 
tion of income and regularity of employment to risk value and to acquire- 
ment of ownership ; value of property owned in relation to occupation, edu- 
cation and income. 

12. Study of the social and financial effects of Negro residence 
upon property value according to location with respect to elements of the 
white population in selected communities in the North and South. 

13. Further study of Negro residence in areas of transition 
in relation to the social factors of delinquency, illegitimacy and social 



I. Urban Surveys 

". . . It is essential that . . . environmental influences be em- 
phasized, (in Negro housing) since they prove to be important 
factors in disease, crime and morality. Many people attribute ex- 
cessive Negro death-rates from tuberculosis, pneumonia and the 
diseases of infants to inborn racial traits, others attribute crimes 
of violence and irregularities in family life to peculiar emotional 
equipment of people of African descent. Regardless of whether 
these traits are influenced to some extent by heredity or not, this 
analysis of the city environment indicates that they are also pro- 
foundly influenced by the conditions of life in cities ... p. 18. 

". . . Urbanization of Negro population signifies far more than 
the mere transference of two million people. It involves a pro- 
found cultural change and demands multiple readjustments. . . 

"The problems of the new environment have proved grave for 
the Negroes and for the cities into which they have moved. In a 
number of cities they represent a very vexing series of social mal- 
adjustments. The difficulties of adapting these country people to 
city houses, city schools and city neighborhood organizations are 
real. The exploitation of their ignorance of city conditions and of 
their position when segregation restricts their choice of residence 
or activity is discouraging, even though this exploitation is often 
similar to that of white groups of similar economic status. . . pp. 

"Another great difficulty in the way of Negroes in their strug- 
gle for better homes has been a persistence of the attitudes of 
slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation did not, with a stroke 
of a pen, strike off the fetters of thought which had been worn for 
two centuries. During slavery, Negroes lived in cabins in the back 
yard. It was but a step from these to cabins in some back alley 
or backwash of the city down in the hollow, or between the rail- 
road tracks, where land was almost valueless. At first, white peo- 
ple with the slave-holding attitude felt that such places were the 



natural habitat of the Negro; and colored people with slave at- 
titudes were not accustomed to anything better. In the early days 
of freedom no one dreamed of putting municipal improvements 
into these neighborhoods . . ." pp. 21-22 x 


"Most American whites refuse to live in the same neighborhood 
with Negroes. Many whites, when Negroes attempt to enter a 
new neighborhood, either start legal action, resort to mob violence, 
or move away ... p. 107. 

"In the first place, the housing accommodations which the Negro 
roomer or renter is compelled to accept are, of necessity, poor. 
The buildings which he occupies are in the oldest part of town; 
therefore, they are usually unprovided with modern sanitary and 
other conveniences. Then the extreme overcrowding of Negro 
neighborhoods renders the housing situation doubly difficult. . . 

"All Negroes do not live in such squalor. The housing standard 
of the well-to-do Negro is equal to that of the well-to-do white 
man. But the masses of Negro workers take the broken victuals 
of American housing facilities." p. 122. 2 


"... Throughout the industrial centers of the North the ma- 
jority of Negro homes are located in sections where transporta- 
tion facilities are inadequate, or in areas where the expansion of 
business houses, railroads and factories has rendered the district 
undesirable for residential purposes, or else in old sections where 
the paving, lighting, street cleaning and sanitary regulations are 

neglected . . ." p. 157. 3 


"There are few cities without Negro sections, and few of these 
sections that are not located within a stone's throw of the city's 
business district. It is one of the most curious phenomena of city 
growth. In Chicago it is the second ward, beginning where the 
'Loop' ends ; in Philadelphia it skirts along two blocks from Broad 
Street; in Atlanta, Auburn Avenue of business breaks suddenly 
into Auburn Avenue of the Negroes and gradually fades into 

1 Woofter, T. J. Jr. and Associates, Negro Problems in Cities, Garden 
City, N. Y., Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., 1928. 

2 Nearing, Scott, Black America, New York, Vanguard Press, 1929. 

3 Kennedy, Louise Venable, The Negro Peasant Turns Cityward, New 
York, Columbia University Press, 1930. 


whiteness again; Beale Street of Memphis, famed for its 'Blues' 
of 'low' Negro origin, traces a similar course. In Richmond, Vir- 
ginia, the Negroes' Leigh and Clay Streets are just two blocks 
from Broad Street, the center of business ; in Savannah, the Negro 
district begins across the street from the new Union Station, so 
placed to indicate the center of transportation activities. Even in 
New York City, which has taken a somewhat untypical city growth, 
there is Columbus Hill around 58th Street within sight of Fifth 
Avenue and Broadway; and the remnants of the migration to 
Harlem may still be seen moving in and out of the archaic dwell- 
ings not yet destroyed, and not three blocks from the heart of the 
theatre district. 

"The course of a consistent tendency is marked in these. For 
it develops that in each case the Negro residence area is located 
on approximately the first residence sites of the city. As the city 
grows and the encroachments of business render the original areas 
less desirable for residence, the first owners move farther out, to 
newer developments. They are followed in turn, in the old dwell- 
ings, by successively lower income classes, as owners or renters. 
The buildings become older and more difficult to keep in repair: 
boarding houses and lodging places appear. Exclusiveness is gone. 
Low-income foreign groups may move in. If their economic level 
is not improved sufficiently to allow individuals to move out, it 
becomes 'Little Italy,' or 'Little Ireland.' Not infrequently the 
indiscriminateness of these transitional areas permits the entrance 
of houses of prostitution, or the milder iniquity of 'buffet flats,' 
and, in the more modern parlance 'bootleg joints.' These are the 
areas, generally, that become the Negro centers. For a greater in- 
come in rent may be secured from this social group than from the 
economic class of whites next in order of succession. Unlike the 
native or immigrant white, the elevation of economic status alone 
does not make possible movement to a different or newer area. 
The property is potentially valuable for business, depending, of 
course, upon the capricious direction of the city's growth. Carter 
Woodson's compilation of free Negro heads of Negro families in 
1830 shows New York City Negroes living on Wall, Nassau, Sulli- 
van, Canal and Rector Streets, holdings now of prohibitively high 
value. Abyssinia Baptist Church remained in the old Negro cen- 
ter on 50th Street until a few years ago before it moved to Harlem. 


Of the homes now occupied in Harlem only a very few have been 
built by Negroes. They have been inherited and among these are 
rare examples of the architectural stamp of Stanford White. The 
Harlem dwellings are more habitable because they are relatively 
newer. The measure of general Negro housing in enough cities 
to make it a rule, becomes the quality of the property inheritance. 
... pp. 199-200. 

"Among the first and most dismal of the social problems en- 
countered by migrants from the South was that of housing con- 
gestion. Negro residence areas expand very slowly, and when 
these are hemmed in, as frequently happens, by other social or 
natural barriers the result immediately registers in overcrowd- 
ing. . ." p. 207. 4 

Albany, New York 

"With the exception of a relatively small number of homes built 
by Negro owners for their own use, not one new structure has 
been made available for the Negro tenant since 1900. A large 
portion of the houses occupied by Negroes are very old brick 
buildings and their death, barring accidental destruction, is so 
lingering and drawn out over so many years of decline and decay 
that they are undesirable from external appearances alone. In some 
cases essential repairs were made and the life of the building pro- 
longed, while in other cases no repairs have been made and the 
buildings remain occupied. The houses do not represent what 
the city approves according to its Building Ordinance, but it does 
represent what Albany tolerates and offers to the increasing Negro 
population group. The Negro population is widely scattered in 
Albany, being distributed throughout 17 of the 19 wards of the 

"In general there is a low standard of housing for the Negro 
population in Albany. The scanty equipment and poor repair of 
the average Negro dwelling make the rent paid comparatively 
high." 5 

4 Johnson, Charles S., The Negro in American Civilisation, New York, 
Henry Holt and Company, 1930. 

5 Reid, Ira DeA., The Negro Population of Albany, N. Y., New York, 
National Urban League, 1928. 


Charleston, West Virginia 

"The investigators went into 681 homes, or 85 per cent of all 
the homes occupied by Negroes in the city. Two thousand nine 
hundred persons reside in these homes of which 2,148 are adults 
and 752 are children. Practically all of the houses are of lumber 
construction, detached and with ample light and ventilation. The 
general sanitary condition is remarkably good when it is remem- 
bered that more than 75 per cent of these houses are more than 
ten years old. The yards and walls are generally clean and the 
plumbing is in good condition. About 75 per cent of the houses 
investigated have bathtubs, hot and cold water. There are several 
alleys in which many Negroes live, but many of them are paved 
and they are kept in good condition by the city government. The 
alleys and back streets of Charleston are almost entirely free from 
trash and rubbish heaps and garbage is not permitted to accumu- 
late and putrefy in the rear of houses. There are only a few 
stables in the sections in which many Negroes live and those that 
are there are kept in a clean condition. . ." p. 45. 6 

Chicago, Illinois 

"A selection was made of 274 Negro families living in all sec- 
tions of Chicago. . . p. 152. 

"For the most part the physical surroundings of the Negro 
family, as indicated by these family histories, are poor. . . p. 152. 

"On the South Side, where most of the Negro population lives, 
the low quality of housing is widespread, although there are some 
houses of a better grade which are greatly in demand. 

"The ordinary conveniences, considered necessities by the aver- 
age white citizen, are often lacking. Bathrooms are often miss- 
ing. Gas lighting is common, and electric lighting is a rarity. 
Heating is commonly done by wood or coal stoves, and furnaces 
are rather exceptional ; when furnaces are present, they are some- 
times out of commission. . . p. 152. 

"Except where the property is owned by Negroes there is fre- 
quent moving. The records obtained of these movements give a 
great variety of reasons. A strong desire to improve living con- 

6 The Negro in West Virginia, "Housing Conditions" A Survey of the 
Negro Population of Charleston, West Virginia, Report of the Bureau of 
Negro Welfare and Statistics, Charleston, West Virginia, 1921-1922. 
(T. Edward Hill, Director.) 


ditions appears with sufficient frequency to indicate that it is the 
leading motive. Buying a home is one of the ways of escape from 
intolerable living conditions, but removal to other houses or flats 
is more often tried. . ." p. 154. 7 

"An almost complete cessation in the building of dwellings in 
Chicago extended over the greater part of the period when Negro 
migration was heaviest. As the most recent comers into the tene- 
ment districts of the city, Negroes and Mexicans have found 
shelter in the most used, most outworn and derelict housing which 
the city keeps. The old tenement districts have long been ex- 
periencing a steady encroachment by industry and commerce. In 
whole or in part as residence sections they are destined for ex- 
tinction. Already deterioration is general in them, both in their 
houses and in their neighborhood conditions. It is unlikely that 
anything will be done to make these districts more fit for dwelling 
places. Although in many cases it seems hardly conceivable, it 
nevertheless is probable that further decline and deterioration are 
all that can be predicted with certainty for much of the renting 
property in them. . . pp. 7, 9. 

"About 8 per cent of the 770 buildings in which the families in- 
cluded in this study dwelt occupied the rear of the lots and had 
another building in front of them. Almost six out of every ten 
buildings (59 per cent) had not more than two floors. Fifty-six 
per cent had only one or two dwellings in them. Fully half were 
of frame construction though within the fire limits. These are 
characteristics of older buildings rather than of recent construc- 
tion in the thickly populated sections of a large city. As a city 
grows, the one-family frame houses give way to larger multi- 
family buildings of brick. Land values increase and the ideal of 
having a city of one-family homes fades into impracticability. . ." 
p. IS. 8 

Columbus, Ohio 

"Households living in rented dwellings constitute about three- 
quarters of the total number studied. In actual numbers, there 

7 The Chicago Commission on Race Relations, The Negro in Chicago, 
Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1922. 

8 Hughes, Elizabeth A., Living Conditions for Small-Wage Earners in 
Chicago, Bureau of Social Surveys, Chicago Department of Public Welfare, 


were 139 renters' households among the 188 homes visited. Forty- 
one families lived in their own homes and the remaining eight gave 
no report as to tenure. 

"It is well known that unsatisfactory housing conditions are as- 
sociated with poverty, both as a cause and as an effect. The very 
poor man, especially if he has lived only under rural conditions, 
does not know how to care for modern equipment when he se- 
cures a good house. He justifies the landlord's claim that poor 
people have poor ways. On the other hand, the lack of sanitary 
facilities is a real reason for dirt and disorder. The housewife 
who must carry all water from a distant well or hydrant cannot 
be held entirely to blame if the house is not immaculate. Under 
such conditions good habits of housekeeping are likely to suffer 

"Negro migrants are poor. Their poverty and the barriers of 
race restrict them severely in their selection of a home. To this 
home they bring their country habits, thus helping to keep hous- 
ing standards low ; especially is this true in a district like Cham- 
pion Avenue, where many of the lots are almost entirely taken 
up with cheap structures built primarily to produce income from 
rentals ... pp. 146-147. 

"Two types of dwellings prevail in this district. There is the 
old, solidly built house which was originally built for the use of 
its owner. Some of these houses have been remodeled and 
modernized by their present owners; others have been divided 
into tenements; still others remain unchanged substantial, but 
not modern. There is also the type of dwelling which had been 
built more recently and less substantially, not to house its owner, 
but rather to supply him with an income from rents. Dwellings 
of this type are usually built at the least possible cost and with 
the fewest possible conveniences. Costs of repair on such houses 
would be heavy if repairs were made, but it is seldom found 
necessary to keep such houses in repair in order to rent them. 
Several cases can be pointed out in which the landlord has built 
two four- family flats on one lot with a sixty- foot frontage on the 
street. One flat is built close to the sidewalk and facing the 
street, and the other is built on the rear of the lot, facing the 
alley. The prevailing size of these flats is four rooms. Prac- 
tically all of them are rental properties, as is shown by the fact 


that of the 84 households living in four-room apartments, only 
three were reported as living in their own homes. 

"These built-up alleys are often dignified by the term 'court.' 
A row of sheds built between the two flats, over the sewer-main, 
contains the fuel supply and the toilets. The latter are generally 
of the long-hopper type, with a funnel tile connected directly with 
the sewer-main, but with no flush arrangement to clear the funnel, 
which in many cases becomes clogged, especially in freezing 
weather or when used as a garbage receiver. When this happens, 
such a 'toilet' becomes in fact a poor kind of vault privy, in viola- 
tion of the real intent of the public health laws." pp. 4S-49. 9 

Dallas, Texas 

"The analysis of some 1,245 survey reports on as many houses 
has been done with care and illustrates both the physical and 
environmental conditions of Negro housing. 

A Desirable 199. . . 15% 

B Good but lacking in some particulars 421 . . .33.8 

C Barely habitable 385. . .31 

D Unfit for habitation . 240. .. 19.2 


"It is hence apparent that a little less than 50 per cent of the 
houses presently occupied by Negroes are reasonably fit for good 
family life, while nearly 20 per cent of the houses ought actually 
to be destroyed . . . 

"(a) There are two economic groups among the Negroes, the thrifty and 
home-loving and the shiftless and disorderly. The whites are afflicted the 
same way. 

"(b) The judgment of fair-minded people that there is a large and grow- 
ing percentage of thrifty and home-caring Negroes is amply borne out by 
the survey. In the face of appalling obstacles, home ownership and respect- 
able home and household conditions are fully evidenced by the facts set out 
in the preceding pages. 

"(c) There is no evidence that the Negroes of Dallas seek residential 
quarters among the whites in order to be among the whites. The thrifty 
and self-respecting Negroes' only endeavor in this respect is to find a place 
where in peace and security, with and for their own people, they may have 
opportunity for a respectable home life with the common environmental 
privileges and conveniences which belong to decent living. 

"(d) Evidence has been presented that the frequent cause for invitations 

9 Mark, Mary Louise, Negroes in Columbus (Ohio), (Section on Hous- 
ing Conditions), Columbus, Department of Sociology, Ohio State University, 
Ohio State University Press, 1928. 


on the part of the whites through so-called encroachments on assumed 
white territory, lies at the door of unscrupulous traders and white traders 
at that. 

"(e) There is ample evidence of exploitation of Negroes, both as to 
rentals and outright sales of property. This exploitation has many phases : 
Sections wholly undesirable for human habitation. 
Shacks unfit for habitation produce shocking revenues. 
Houses without any common conveniences and with bad environment 
produce exorbitant rentals. 

Houses are left in bad repair the tenant fearing to urge repair lest 
his rental be raised beyond reason. 

Ground most unfitted for residences and without any convenience what- 
ever is sold to purchasers at amazing prices. 

In purchases, the Negro is frequently mulcted in his purchase to the 
extent of 25 per cent or more beyond what a white purchaser would pay. 
"(f) The promotion of good housing and home owning is always in con- 
templation of the thrifty and industrious. 

"Having then in mind that, to their own lasting credit Negroes 
are seeking to promote a clean, respectable home life, the follow- 
ing must not be forgotten. The shiftless white family may be 
willing to live anywhere under most any evil condition. But 
when the white wishes to better his housing conditions, he can go 
anywhere he chooses and is only limited by his financial condition. 

"The respectable Negro, on the other hand is not only limited 
as to exact territory, but that limitation is usually set where decent 
home conditions are most difficult or perhaps impossible to 
provide." 10 

Detroit, Michigan 

"Housing is one of the most serious problems of the Negro in 
Detroit. For some years the fluctuating shortage in the number of 
houses for the population in general has had its greatest effect 
upon the Negro group . . . 

"This St. Antoine district, (which holds the largest Negro popu- 
lation) may be termed a deteriorating area from the standpoint of 
family housing. Bordering on the main commercial center of the 
city, it is no longer a favorable location for residential purposes, 
as factories, garages and other commercial establishments have 
been built. The paving is not generally of the best and traffic 
is heavy. Land values are high since the area is chiefly used for 

10 A Survey of Negro^ Housing in Dallas, Texas, The Dallas Committee 
on Interracial Cooperation, Civic Federation of Dallas, 1924-1925. (Manu- 


manufacturing or commercial purposes. A preponderance of the 
houses are old frame dwellings, and as the landlords are inter- 
ested in them only as a temporary source of income until the 
property can be sold for other than residential purposes, sanitary 
conditions are often far from the best. In some blocks the houses 
are so dilapidated that expenditure on the part of the owner to 
make them suitable for living purposes would be useless. How- 
ever, since houses still remain and Negro tenants can be obtained 
for them at any reasonable rent, most of them are still occupied. 
"The fact that the whites in Detroit feel that the presence of a 
Negro in a neighborhood depreciates property values is one of 
the most important factors in 'the race problem'." 1J 

Elizabeth, New Jersey 

"In Elizabeth, as in many other northern cities, there are no 
new houses built for occupancy by Negro tenants. Today, a 
number of the houses occupied by Negroes, particularly in Eliza- 
bethport, are unfit for human habitation. The life of such houses 
is so long and their death, barring accidental destruction, is so 
lingering and drawn out over so many years of decline and decay 
that they are undesirable on external appearances alone. In some 
cases essential repairs have been made, and the buildings have 
remained occupied. Such conditions do not represent what the 
City of Elizabeth approves as satisfactory according to its ordi- 
nances, but they do represent what Elizabeth tolerates and offers 
to the ever-increasing Negro population." 12 

Evanston, Illinois 

"Information on nationality and racial characteristics was 
secured from a somewhat larger sample. Of the heads of 10,589 
families, 80 per cent were native born white, 9 per cent colored, 
and 11 per cent foreign born. The tendency of the Negro and 
so-called foreign born families to concentrate in certain sections 
of the city was noticeable, 78 per cent of the colored families 
living in one small section about eight blocks in diameter on the 
western edge of the city, and 40 per cent of the foreign born liv- 

11 The Negro in Detroit (Section V, "Housing"), Prepared for the Mayor's 
Interracial Committee, Detroit Bureau of Governmental Research, Inc., 1926. 
( Mimeographed. ) 

13 Reid, Ira DeA., A Survey of the Negro Population of Elisabeth, N. /., 
New York, National Urban League, 1930. 


ing immediately adjacent to the Negroes in an equally small 
section. The Polish families reveal the greatest tendency to con- 
centrate, as nine-tenths of them live in this one 'foreign' section." 
p. 171. 13 

Kansas City, Missouri 

". . . Few cities in the United States have better housing for 
the middle classes and for a large part of the working class; yet, 
in spite of these hopeful conditions, Kansas City has a housing 
problem of sufficient gravity to call for a vigorous movement to 
eradicate the evils which now exist. The housing problem as 
related to the Negro is an especially serious one, since only limited 
districts are available to him for residence purposes; and, as the 
population increases, these districts must either be enlarged or 
become overcrowded. The latter course has usually prevailed, and 
as a result the conditions have been gradually growing worse . . . 
p. 86. 

"These figures 14 show that the 1,009 persons represented occupy 
1,069 rooms, which gives an average of 1.06 rooms for each indi- 
vidual. These figures 14 do not indicate overcrowding to any great 
extent, since the estimate for overcrowding is usually placed at 
1.5 persons per room. We note also that 181, or 52 per cent of 
the families, occupy three rooms ... p. 90. 

"Toilet accommodations are also totally inadequate. The present 
requirements of the sanitary ordinances of the city provide that 
not less than one water-closet or privy shall be furnished for every 
twenty persons, while the new building code provides that there 
must be one of these for every fifteen persons. Little effort has 
been made to enforce these provisions, especially in the old build- 
ings where the mass of the Negroes are living ... p. 94. 

"Only a small percentage of the houses in the congested Negro 
districts are provided with baths, either tub or shower, though the 
nature of the daily work done by both the Negro men and the 
Negro women makes it absolutely necessary for them to keep 
clean, if they are to retain their health and self-respect; yet the 
houses in which they are forced to live are not provided with the 

13 Hinman, Albert G., "An Inventory of Housing in a Suburban City," 
Journal of Land and Public Utility Economics, Chicago. May, 1931, Vol. 7, 
pp. 169-180. 

14 See Table, page 89, op. cit. 


means. In an investigation made by the Board of Public Welfare 
near Garrison Square only two bathtubs were found in 827 Negro 
houses. However, the conditions are not so bad in the other sec- 
tions of the city. Since baths are not provided by the Negro in 
his house, there remains no place in the entire city, save the free 
baths in the Allen Chapel African Methodist Church and a few 
Negro barber shops, where the Negro can secure a bath. 

"Again, most of the Negro residences are provided neither with 
gas nor with furnaces and since the basements are rented for liv- 
ing purposes, no place is provided for storing fuel, and as a result 
it must be purchased in small quantities. 

"The question naturally arises, 'Why do these Negroes live in 
such houses and in such environment, or why do they not move 
into more desirable sections of the city?' As stated before, the 
habitation of the Negro is restricted to certain districts, where 
he must live under the conditions existing there. Hundreds of 
Negroes, however, seem perfectly satisfied, not only with their 
accommodations, but also with their station in life . . . pp. 96-97. 

"For several years there has been a great demand for Negro 
apartments; they have become quite fashionable among the 
Negroes, as well as among the whites, and as a result a great 
many have been erected to supply this demand. They offer some 
conveniences, such as brick buildings, paved streets, light and 
water, which the old dilapidated buildings on the North Side do 
not offer ... p. 92. 

"In the congested districts described above, where more than 
15,000 Negroes live, the accommodations offered whether the old 
dilapidated buildings in 'Belvidere' or the cheap tenements on 'The 
Bowery' are very limited. Nearly half of the houses are with- 
out water, while less than one-fourth of them possess either baths 
or toilets. In many cases the water must be secured from a 
hydrant back of the houses ; these hydrants are, of course, frozen 
up during a good portion of the winter a condition which makes 
it necessary for the families to carry water from neighbors who 
chance to be fortunate enough to have water in the house, or to 
secure it from a near-by saloon. I was told by a number of white 
landlords that they could not afford to put water in the houses, 
since the Negro could not be depended upon to keep the house 
warm, which resulted in the freezing of the pipes and a large 
plumbing bill. Several instances were cited where such bills ex- 


ceed the rent during the winter months. In many of the tenement 
houses a single hydrant in the hall supplied water for all the 
families in the building." pp. 93-94. 15 

Knoxville, Tennessee 

"The physical surroundings of the Negro family, for the most 
part are poor; the ordinary conveniences, considered necessities 
by the average white citizen, often are lacking. Often there is no 
bathroom. Kerosene-lamp lighting is common, and in numerous 
cases there is no electricity. Heating usually is done by wood or 
coal stoves and furnaces are rather exceptional. 

"Under 'Sanitary conditions in and around home' such nota- 
tions as these are found : 

Poorly constructed house; two and more families in three-room house; 
home in filthy condition ; house and yard very unsanitary ; roof leaks ; paper 
hanging from ceiling; window-panes out; plastering off; dilapidated condi- 
tions ; general appearance very bad inside and out ; living conditions crowded, 
ten and twelve in two rooms; no sanitary conveniences; children partly 
clad and dirty. 

"This is the common situation of the Negroes whose economic 
standing is low and who cannot afford more than the minimum 
living expenses. The variations are in degree rather than kind. To 
dwellings in a little better sanitation and repair than those just 
described, the adjective 'fair' was given." 16 

Louisville, Kentucky 

"The greatest problem in Louisville is that of housing and sani- 
tation. Two-thirds of the houses in which the working class of 
colored people live are without sewerage connection and are as a 
result afflicted with the privy vault which is very often found to be 
overflowing and thus contaminating the entire neighborhood. Gar- 
bage in many instances is left uncollected and this adds to the 
disease-breeding plague spots of the community . . ." p. 138. 


^Martin, Asa E., Our Negro Population (M.A. Thesis at William Jewell 
College, Liberty, Mo.), Kansas City, Franklin Hudson Publishing Company, 

18 Daves, J. H., A Social Study of the Colored Population of Knoxville, 
Tennessee, Knoxville, The Free Colored Library, 1926. 

17 Ragland, J. M., "The Negro in Louisville," Southern Workman, March, 
1925, Vol. 54, pp. 137-139. 


Minneapolis, Minnesota 

"When compared with thirteen other northern cities, Minne- 
apolis had in 1920 a relatively small percentage of Negro popula- 
tion; 3,927 ... of a total population of 380,582, or about 1 
per cent. 

"One very salient feature of the housing conditions as revealed 
by the study of 527 families is the absence of overcrowding. 
Ninety-seven per cent of the homes observed had water; 90 per 
cent had sewer connection; 95 per cent had gas and 74 per cent 
electricity." 18 

New York, New York 

"From September 30, 1920, when there were 1,320,000 suites 
for tenants in one- and two-room houses, to September 30, 1925, 
when this number had increased to 1,588,000 or 20 per cent, less 
than twelve of the total number of houses constructed were 
available for the colored population of Harlem. The Commission 
on Housing and Regional Planning in its report of December 23, 
1925, stated that the 'amount of new construction within the past 
three years has been without precedent. It is safe to conclude 
therefore, that there is no mass shortage today, i.e., if price were 
no factor, the families in New York City might all find accom- 
modations. However, price in relation to income is the essence 
of the problem/ 

"As a basis for our figures we may give the bases for the 
decision of the Housing Commission. The standard is one room 
to serve for kitchen, dining-room and living-room, and not more 
than two people to each remaining room. On this basis it was 
found that in the block in Harlem there was a percentage of over- 
crowded apartments as follows: 1919 3.5 per cent; 1923 4.5 
per cent ; 1925 3.7 per cent. Since overcrowding is regarded as 
a measure of extreme congestion, the vast majority of families in 
New York do not live under the conditions of crowding that fall 
under the definition as set up in the Commission's report. 

"The Commission further holds that it 'cannot state too 
emphatically the fact, that any housing problem that exists in the 
white community, exists in exaggerated form in Harlem.' The 
present problem is not the increase that the Negro, like the white 

M Harris, Abram L., The Negro Population in Minneapolis, A Study of 
Race Relations, Minneapolis, Minneapolis Urban League, 1926. 


tenant, is forced to pay from year to year, but the enormous 
premium he has to pay in comparison with white tenants. 

"From the statements on the size of households and of the num- 
ber of rooms in the apartments, some indication may be given of 
the extent of overcrowding within the apartments. Aside from 
the standards set by the Commission on overcrowding, other 
standards may be mentioned. Overcrowding is often considered 
present when the number of persons exceeds the number of rooms 
by one-half. Accepting this method as a test we find that 9.9 
per cent of the households were overcrowded. 

"The recent activity on the part of the Commission on Housing 
and Regional Planning which stimulated community councils and 
housing committees in various sections of the city has had its 
effect upon Harlem. Tenants who were formerly very satisfied 
with the homes they found available, realized that they were below 
the average, and proceeded to register their complaints with the 
Tenement House Department and through the Community Coun- 
cils. The severe agitation which has taken place in Harlem would 
lead one to think that everything was not in favor of the tenant, 
and that no landlord was living up to the standards of decency in 
providing satisfactory housing conditions. 

"Twenty-two per cent of the replies of families stated that the 
condition of their apartment was 'good'; 18 per cent stated that 
it was 'fair'; 12 per cent did not answer; 48 per cent stated that 
it was either 'poor,' 'bad,' or 'needed cleaning'." 19 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

"The background of any picture of the housing of an immigrant 
people in a city or state is always the housing that exists there at 
the time of their arrival, particularly the housing of the people of 
the same economic level as themselves. Hence, in any discussion 
of the living accommodations of the Negro families which have 
recently come to Pennsylvania there must be kept clearly in mind 
the picture of conditions which existed in Pennsylvania when 
these newcomers entered the state. Let us review these conditions : 

First There was the housing shortage, affecting a large percentage of 
the low-wage-earning and renting class. 

19 Reid, Ira DeA., Twenty-four Hundred Negro Families in Harlem, New 
York, New York Urban League, 1927. 


Second There was an unchecked and increasingly vicious rent profiteer- 
ing being practiced upon this same group. 

Third In a measure because of the housing shortage and rent profiteer- 
ing, though equally due to other causes, there was a widespread prevalence 
of insanitation and congested occupancy. 

Fourth Racial attractions and antipathies were reacting upon special 
groups, including Pennsylvania Negroes, and forcing segregation ... p. 46. 

"The background of the picture of Negro migrant housing in 
Philadelphia is practically the same as that for the state at large. 
We have our housing shortage, affecting tens of thousands of the 
low-wage-earning class. We have our mounting rentals, exceeding 
in many instances, by over 100 per cent, rentals charged for the 
same accommodations in 1914. We have widespread overcrowd- 
ing and insanitation. We have old houses inherited by the poor 
as cheaper rental properties but miserable in their fitting for 
human habitation. Into a large number of these buildings and 
areas, a Negro population already had been forced to move. 
Thus, when the new Negro immigrant came to the city, he found 
his choice restricted and he went where doubling-up was under- 
stood and taken for granted. 

"We do not know how many newcomers have thus obtained 
residence in Philadelphia, though from several surveys that have 
been made it is estimated the number approximates 10,500 per 
year for the past two years. Some found individual houses in 
the newer areas opening up to colored occupancy. But by far 
the majority went into the old areas. A spot map of migrant 
families, reported to the Migration Committee and made in the 
office of the Housing Association, shows that the bulk of the 
known residences of these migrants was in the old and densely 
populated Negro centers in the Middle City, South Philadelphia, 
and West Philadelphia ... p. 47. 

"High rents accompany almost every case of overcrowding. 
Usually one-room apartments are sublet on a weekly basis and 
seldom does the rent fall as low as $3.50 per week. Rents on such 
a basis of occupancy vary, but one house of six rooms returned a 
rental of $81 a month; another, of nine rooms, netted $108 a 
month; a house of twelve rooms brought in $224 a month; one 
six-room- house which rented in 1914 to one family for $14 a 
month was changed into three apartments, by the addition of a 
sink and toilet on the second floor, and now brings in $100 a 


month; and still another house rented to a migrant for $65 a 
month was sublet by him to thirty-eight persons, nearly all 
migrants, so as to return him almost $100 a week. It has one 
toilet in the yard and no bath or toilet in the house. 

"It would be only repetition to say that insanitation and incom- 
plete sanitary equipment go with such occupancy conditions. To 
the one-room occupancy anyone making an enumeration of the 
housing evils attending such living would have to add cellar and 
attic living, obstructed drainage, disrepair, accumulation of rub- 
bish and filth, and other nuisances unmentionable. One day's in- 
spection of 63 such houses uncovered 90 violations of the Housing 
Law." p. 47. 20 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

"The deplorable housing of migrant families is shown in Table 
VI. 21 Of the 157 families investigated, 77, or 49 per cent, live in 
one room each. Thirty- three, or 21 per cent, live in two-room 
apartments, and only 47 families, or 30 per cent, live in apart- 
ments of three or more rooms each. 

"Of these 47 families, 38 kept roomers or boarders, totaling 
131, or an average of 3.5 roomers per family. Eighty-one of the 
total of 139 houses inspected had water inside the house, while 58 
houses secured water from yard or street hydrants or from neigh- 
bors. Only 34 of the total were equipped with interior toilet 
facilities; the rest had outside toilets. Of the latter, 42 had no 
sewerage connections, and used filthy, unsanitary vaults ... p. 15. 

Rents Paid by 142 Families Investigated 

$10 per month 41 

15 per month 60 

20 per month 18 

25 per month 13 

Over $25 10 

"The sections formerly designated as Negro quarters, have been 
long since congested beyond capacity by the influx of newcomers, 
and a score of new colonies have sprung up in hollows and ravines, 
on hill slopes and along river banks, by railroad tracks and mill- 
yards. In many instances the dwellings are those which have been 

Newman, Bernard J., 'The Housing of Negro Immigrants in Pennsyl- 
vania," Opportunity, February, 1924, Vol. 2, pp. 46-48. 
21 See p. 10, op. cit. 


abandoned by foreign white people since the beginning of the 
present war. In some cases they are structures once condemned 
by the City Bureau of Sanitation, but opened again only to accom- 
modate the influx from the South. Very few of these houses are 
equipped with gas. Coal and wood are used both for cooking and 
heating . . ." p. 16. 22 

"1. The total number of families (studied) was 216, averaging 
in size 4.9 persons. 

"2. The average number of rooms per dwelling was 4.2. 

"3. There was an average of 1.86 persons per sleeping room. 

"4. The average rent for all dwellings was $32.76; distributed 
by rooms the average rentals were as follows : 

2 rooms $18.77 6 rooms $44.68 

3 rooms 25.09 7 rooms 48.11 

4 rooms 31.12 8 rooms 64.00 

5 rooms 35.84 9 rooms 79.00 

The average rent per room was $7.78. This is lower than Hall's 
average of $8.93 in 1929, and higher than Wright's average of 
$7.39 in 1927. 

"5. Thirty-five per cent of the families had lodgers. These 
lodgers paid an average weekly rent of $4.21. 

"6. Fifty-two per cent of the families had children under 16 
years of age. 

"7. The average number of children per family unit having 
children was 2.59. 

"8. The average number of children per total family units was 

"9. The four-room house was the predominant size, while 18.7 
per cent were of less than four rooms and 26.9 per cent more than 
that number. 

"10. Conveniences were distributed as follows: 

Per cent of families having gas 93.0 

Per cent of families having electricity 80.0 

Per cent of families having bath 62.7 

Per cent of families having hot water 64.3 

Per cent of families having toilets in hall and basement 16.5 

Per cent of families having toilets in yard 17.4 

Per cent of families having toilets in house 66.1 

Per cent of families having water supply outside 7.3 

"11. Of the toilets located within the house 63.1 per cent were 

22 Epstein, Abraham, The Negro Migrant in Pittsburgh, (A Study in So- 
cial Economics), published under the supervision of the School of Economics, 
University of Pittsburgh, 1918. 


used by one family, 28.1 per cent by two families, and 6.1 per 
cent by three or more families. Of those toilets located without 
the house 42 per cent were used by one family, 38 per cent by two 

families, 20 per cent by three or more families." p. 32. 23 


"A study made in the fall and winter of 1928-29 is based on an 
analysis of 218 families and 227 dwellings in the Hill District. 
Its findings may be summarized as follows : 

1. Negro migrants have moved into the same sections, and often the 
same houses, occupied by practically all new groups on first coming to 

2. The average size of the Negro family is 4.3 persons. 

3. The average number of rooms in Negro dwellings was 3.79 ; 
the average number of persons per room was 1.05 ; 

the average number of families per dwelling was 1.13. 

4. Of the 227 dwellings studied 21 had outside toilets; 14 had outside 
water; 153 had baths; 217 had gas; 182 had electric lights; 56 had laundry 
tubs; and 14 had furnaces. 

5. The average weekly earnings of the male heads of families were 
$27.09. The maximum weekly wage was $68.75 the minimum, $10. 

6. The average weekly income of the 227 families was $32.02. This amount 
includes earnings in addition to those of the heads of families. They were 
augmented as follows: 

By wives' work 41 families 

By income from lodgers 73 families 

By alimony 1 family 

The median weekly income was $31, the minimum, $10, and the maxi- 
mum $85. 

7. The average rent per room per month was $8.93. The range of rents 
was from a minimum of $11.50 for a two-room dwelling to a maximum 
of $100 for a twelve-room dwelling. The median monthly rent was $38. 

8. These Negro families pay an average of 24.4 per cent of their (total 
family) income for rent. For the two-room dwellings it is 20.8 per cent; 
three-room, 25.8 per cent; four rooms, 29.3 per cent; five rooms, 29 per 
cent ; six rooms, 30.9 per cent." 2 * 

Richmond, Virginia 

"The differences here brought out are due to a number of cir- 
cumstances, some of which are within the control of the Negroes 
themselves, but for the others the responsibility rests on the white 

23 Reid, Ira DeA., Social Conditions of the Negro in the Hill District of 
Pittsburgh, General Committee on the Hill Survey, Pittsburgh (National 
Urban League), 1930. 

24 Hall, Wiley A., Negro Housing and Rents in the Hill District of Pitts- 
burgh, (M.A. Thesis) University of Pittsburgh, 1929. (Unpublished.) 


people, who control the political machinery, and who direct the 
expenditure of municipal funds ... p. 46. 

"There is a general lack of paving in the Negro residential areas. 
This fact constitutes a chief cause for complaint and is the reason 
most generally assigned for the aggressiveness in pushing into 
white areas which is generally evidenced among the Negroes in 
Richmond. This was the principal cause assigned for the spread 
of the Negro residential area eastward along Leigh, Clay and 
Marshall Streets. In Fulton, especially, the condition of the 
streets is such as would not be tolerated in a white community. 
At certain seasons of the year the slippery red mud on the hill- 
sides on which the Negroes live in this section offers such obstruc- 
tion to travel that motor vehicles attempt to traverse these streets 
only at the peril of becoming stuck fast in the mud. Such condi- 
tions are perhaps worse and of greater extent in Fulton than in 
any of the other sections, but unpaved streets, and few sidewalks, 
rough in dry weather and intolerably muddy and slick in wet 
weather are the outstanding characteristics of the Negro sec- 
tions . . ." p. 53. 25 

* * * * * 

"The long tabulations on the sanitary conditions, conveniences, 
state of repair, and general state of satisfaction of the residents 
will not be given here, but the figures incontestably establish this 
fact : Negro owners of property take more interest in maintaining 
their homes in a clean and sanitary condition than do renters. 
Possibly Negro renters tend to become discouraged because of the 
few conveniences and poor state of repair. At least two-thirds of 
the rented houses visited needed essential repairs or alterations. 
Almost everything seemed to be wrong with the houses : Leaking 
roofs were mentioned again and again ; plastering was down ; 
paper, painting or calcimining was needed everywhere; many 
porches, fences, gutters were broken; plumbing defects of every 
kind were noted. A large number of the very old houses in Jack- 
son Ward could only be described as generally dilapidated and 
hardly fit for human habitation . . ." p. 72. 26 


"The News-Leader today completed an investigation which dis- 

25 Knight, Charles Louis, Negro Homing in Certain Virginia Cities (Rich- 
mond, Lynchburg and Charlottesville), (University of Virginia, Phelps- 
Stokes Fellowship Paper No. 8), Richmond, The William Byrd Press, 1927. 
"The Negro in Richmond, Virginia," Report of the Negro Welfare Sur- 
vey Committee, Richmond Council of Social Agencies, 1929. 


closes that housing conditions among Negroes residing in the 
poorer sections of Richmond are disgraceful, inhuman, pestilential 
and in a civic sense entirely too costly to be tolerated by the people 
of this city. 

"The investigation, embracing 483 Negro homes, each of them 
inspected in minute detail, showed that : 

The average Negro home in the poorer sections contains 4 persons, and 
is supported by an income of $12.50 per week; 

A majority of these homes are old, and at least one-half are in various 
stages of dilapidation; 

Less than one of every eight homes has plumbing facilities inside the 
house ; 

Only one in three has a water connection inside the house; 

The average home contains less than four rooms ; 

In 14 per cent of these homes there is neither a kitchen nor a bathroom ; 

As many as fourteen persons were found living in one three-room shack, 
and in another home eight persons regularly sleep in the same room ; 

Filth and squalor obtain in many of these homes ; 

Unmentionable vice and disease flourish under the conditions existent 
in the worst of these homes. 

"The findings of this investigation, although they picture in- 
human, wasteful and deplorable living conditions, were not un- 
known in Richmond heretofore. Eighteen years ago, after com- 
pleting a thorough study of housing conditions in Richmond, 
Gustavus A. Weber declared that there were in Richmond homes 
'poorly lighted, unventilated, damp, imperfectly drained, exposed 
to undue fire peril, in bad repair, vermin infested, disease infested, 
with unclean surroundings, with insufficient water supply, without 
toilet accommodations adequate for comfort, cleanliness or privacy, 
with defective plumbing, with overcrowded rooms, and with cellar 
tenements'." 27 

Troy, New York 

"The neighborhoods in which the majority of Negroes live are 
fairly well defined. There are no exclusive Negro areas but the 
oldest parts of the city in which are found the cheapest rents as 
well as the most unsatisfactory housing form the sections that in- 
clude what fully 85 per cent of the population call 'home.' 

^Corson, John J., Ill, "Negro Housing in Richmond," Richmond News- 
Leader, September 21 to October 1, 1931. 


"An analysis of the conditions of all families, however, showed 
that out of 99 households, 

46 had no bathrooms 

13 had outside toilets 

24 had no light other than an oil lamp 

27 showed general housing conditions that were classified as bad. 

"The tenants themselves give most effective testimony on the 
general housing and neighborhood conditions. Though the current 
depression has caused hardships on tenant as well as owner, the 
former being unable to pay his rent and the latter unable to collect, 
the tenants believe that there can be some improvements . . . 

"No one remembers when last new houses have been available 
for Negro renters in Troy. A few Negroes (the estimates range 
from twelve to fifteen) own or are purchasing real properties 
valued at $150,000. In general the homes purchased have not been 
new." 28 

Washington, D. C. 

"Unlike most American cities, Washington has no specific 
geographical localization of its Negro population. Instead of a 
definitely bounded territory into which almost the entire Negro 
population is crowded, there are scattered communities which dis- 
tribute the Negro population throughout practically the entire 
city ... p. 57. 

"In general, there are two types of houses in which Negro 
families in Washington live. First, those that are built originally 
for white people and have been taken over by colored renters or 
buyers. Second, houses built especially for Negro occupancy. 
The first type of house is in nearly every instance superior in 
quality to the latter, and is generally preferred by Negroes who 
desire durable homes . . ." p. 91. 29 

Worcester, Massachusetts 

"Worcester has no 'black belt' for her Negro citizens. They 
live on the East Side and on the West Side and in all sections of 
the city. 

28 Reid, Ira DeA., Trojans of Color A Social Survey of the Negro Popu- 
lation of Troy, N. Y., New York, National Urban League, 1931. 

29 Jones, William Henry, The Housing of Negroes in Washington, D. C., 
Washington, Howard University Press, 1929. 


"A trip through the sections largely inhabited by Negroes shows 
that many of the streets on which these homes face are in a bad 
state of repair. Many of the homes occupied by Negroes are 
likewise without some of the sanitary facilities now considered 
necessary . . ." 30 

II. Rural Surveys 

"The southern farmer is a one crop man and especially is this 
true of the Negro farmer ... p. 1. 

". . . Up to 1910 the colored farmers had made progress not 
only in the number of farms which they cultivated but also in 
climbing the tenant ladder from the position of dependent laborer 
to that of semi-dependent half-share tenant, and on to a position 
of third- and fourth-share tenant, independent renter of land, and 
farm owner. The number of owners had increased in 1910 until 
219,000 Negroes owned their land. While there were 161,600 
Negro owners in the Southeast in 1910, this number decreased to 
145,900 by 1925, indicating a surprising proportion who are losing 
heart and moving to the city ... p. 12. 

"Thus the depression in the cotton area has not only occasioned 
a decrease in the number of Negro farmers but has forced the 
masses, those remaining on the farm, downward in the scale. 
Here and there it is possible to find farmers who are making 
money but the majority have been in serious financial straits. The 
proportion of Negro croppers to the total number of Negro 
farmers in the extreme southeastern states increased from 39 per 
cent in 1920 to 46 per cent in 1925. The actual number of crop- 
pers remained about the same but their proportion rose sharply 
because of the striking decrease in the higher classes of tenants. 
Part of this loss in Negro tenant farmers is made up for by the 
increase of the white tenant classes in the South. This increase 
in white tenancy is largely in the class of share tenants who fur- 
nish their own animals and implements and farm for two-thirds 
or three-fourths of the crop. The increase in share tenancy, 
especially in cropping, is very discouraging. The croppers are 
those who have no tools or animals and farm chiefly for the 
money crop, neglecting food and feed crops and the breeding of 
domestic animals. 

30 Moss, R. Maurice, Survey of the Negro Population of Worcester, Mass., 
New York, National Urban League, 1929. 


"On the whole, therefore, the picture shown by the period from 
1920 to 1925 presents a discouraging situation in the farming of 
the Negro and of southern agriculture in general. A post-war 
deflation and a subsequent calamity of overproduction of cotton 
fell most heavily on the four extreme southeastern cotton states, 
and especially upon the Negro farmers in those states. The result 
has been a tremendous loss in agricultural productivity." 
pp. 13-14. 31 

a Woofter, T. J. Jr., A Study of the Economic Status of the Negro, 
Chicago, Julius Rosenwald Fund, 1930. (Mimeographed.) 




A study of housing in relationship to juvenile delinquency may 
easily lead to deductions that are unwarranted. To avoid fallacious 
findings a necessary preliminary step is to recognize the multiple 
factors involved in the total situation. Secondly, units of measure- 
ment should be ascertained which may give an evaluation to the 
respective importance of these factors. 

Any discussion, then, of housing among Negroes must recog- 
nize more than the physical aspects of the subject. Indeed, even 
the additional presentation of statistics as to the amount of rent 
paid, the number of rooms occupied, etc., is not enough. The 
presentation of such facts may make available added information 
about life among Negroes. The mere enumeration of such facts, 
however, does not give understanding. Unless such materials are 
regarded only as indices and, as such, are regarded only as a unit 
in the totality of Negro life, fallacious deductions may easily arise. 

Behind these formal materials are the memories, the aims, the 
hopes, the ambitions, and the aspirations of individuals. More- 
over, the behavior of the individual can be understood only when 
considered in relationship to the group of which he is a member. 
He is inevitably bound up with the mores, the customs and the 
traditions of the group. True, he may seek to escape the group. 
But in the process of escape his emancipation from the group 
tends to secularize his behavior. He undergoes a period of dis- 
organization. And in the course of achieving status in a new group 
his response to the total situation depends upon the degree of re- 
organization and the rapidity with which it takes place. 

To understand the individual, the group, or the community, 
recognition of cultural differences within the racial group is es- 
sential. Social, economic, and occupational levels, for example, 

1 This paper was prepared for the Group on Social and Economic Factors 
of the Committee on Negro Housing by Earl R. Moses, Department of Re- 
search and Records, Chicago Urban League, and was submitted by that 
group as an appendix to the committee's report. 




are indices through which these cultural differences may be meas- 
ured. Further, the selective and segregative processes operating 
within the group make intelligible these differences. 

In the course of this study an attempt is made to show the 
relationship between delinquency and housing, differences in Negro 
communities, how these differences are reflected in physical aspects 
of housing and, last, how these factors all contribute to the prev- 
alence or absence of delinquency in a community. Emphasis, 
then, shall be on delinquency in community relationships, keeping 
in mind, however, the importance of housing in this relationship. 

Certain questions are of primary importance in studying the 
relationship of delinquency to the social and economic factors in- 
volved in the housing of Negroes. The answer to these questions 
will make intelligible certain fundamental aspects of the problem. 
Some of these questions are: What is the nature of the problem 
of delinquency and crime among Negroes ? What are Negro com- 
munities? What are the characteristics of such communities? 
Are there differences in these communities? If so, why? How 
are Negro delinquents distributed? Is the distribution static or 
changing? How far is the Negro delinquent the product of the 
Negro community? 

Answers to these questions are sought, in part at least, in the 
materials embodied in this paper. 

I. The Problem of Delinquency and Crime 

The rapid increase in delinquency and crime among Negroes in 
Chicago in recent years has focused attention on this racial group. 
Relative to the increase in delinquency among Negroes, a state 
parole officer writes, in part : 

"The sensational increase in juvenile Negro delinquency gives the greatest 
concern to all good citizenship as having a far-reaching effect along moral 
and economic lines . . . 

"The number of white boys has remained practically at a standstill, if it 
has not decreased, while that of Negro boys shows an increase far out of 
proportion to race statistics." 2 

Turning to the field of adult crime, one encounters anything from 
conservative estimates to wild speculations as to the extent of 
adult crime. In the latter connection the statement has frequently 
been made that, although the Negroes compose only about 5 per 

2 Communication from M. H. Cone, State of Illinois Parole Officer. 


cent of the total population in Chicago, they contribute nearly 50 
per cent of the homicides. 

As a background for the discussion of social and economic 
factors in housing among Negro families in which there are de- 
linquents, it is desirable that cognizance should first be taken of 
the nature and extent of the problem of delinquency and crime. 

Juvenile Delinquency 

The increase in delinquency among Negroes has not only been 
recorded in Chicago but has been noted as well in other large 
centers of population. The increase has been attributed largely 
to the influx of southern migrants into cities above the Mason 
and Dixon line. In popular discussions some even attribute the 
increase to the transplantation of actual delinquents from the 
South, who merely continue their delinquent activities in a new 

Patient investigations have revealed that the increase in juvenile 
delinquency has been largely a matter of the segregation of 
Negroes into areas of deterioration. An excellent summary of the 
situation is contained in the following excerpt : 

"The real problem ... of colored people of Chicago, as in all northern 
cities, lies in the fact of their segregation. While they do not occupy all the 
worst streets and live in all unsanitary houses in Chicago, what is known as 
the 'Black Belt' is altogether forbidding and demoralizing. The huddling 
together of good and bad, compelling the decent element of colored people 
to witness brazen display of vice . . . are trying conditions." 3 

In addition, attention is called to the fact that a research proj- 
ect * involving an intensive study of delinquency among Negroes 
reveals that the increase in delinquency follows the same funda- 
mental processes for any newcomer. This is true regardless of 
racial or national identity. Shaw states a fundamental aspect of 
the problem as follows : 

"In such cases" (referring to population influx into Chicago) "the proc- 

3 Williams, Fannie B., Social Bonds in the Black Belt of Chicago, an 
M. A. thesis in the University of Chicago library, which, in turn, quotes from 
the "Douglas," the history of a local community in Chicago, by the Social 
Science Research Committee of the University. These volumes (the history 
of local communities in Chicago) are available only in the library of the 
University of Chicago. 

* Juvenile Delinquency among Negroes in Chicago, a research project now 
being carried on by the writer under the auspices of the Chicago Urban 
League and the Local Community Research Committee of the University 
of Chicago. 


ess has been the same. The most recent immigrants enter and secure a 
footing by invading the areas of lowest rank in the deteriorated areas ad- 
jacent to the Loop and the large industrial centers. In time another group 
enters and displaces the population ahead of it and pushes it out into what 
may be called areas of second settlement." B 

It may be accepted without question that the physical aspects 
of housing contribute decidedly to the character of a community, 
and the foregoing excerpts suggest that housing conditions are 
a potent factor in determining the degree of social organization 
in the community, and consequently community norms of behavior. 

A detailed analysis of what are the housing conditions and social 
and economic levels of different communities will be discussed 
later. Our present interest revolves about the growth and extent 
of delinquency among Negroes. This will afford an opportunity 
of securing an adequate background to study the relationship be- 
tween increase in delinquency and the social and economic levels 
in community life. After all, the problem of housing of the 
juvenile delinquent resolves itself primarily into the problem of 
housing as it relates to his adult parents. The juvenile delinquent 
is not faced with the responsibility of family income as a means 
of sustenance. His is not, in general, the problem of a job, of 
securing meat and bread. He is a consumer. However, he shares 
the conditions to which his parents are subjected. Their condi- 
tion, in turn, depends upon their level of income. 

Population Growth and Increase of Delinquency. In 1900, 
the Negro population of Chicago numbered 30,150, or 1.8 per 
cent of the total population. Of the 8,056 male delinquents, ten 
to seventeen years of age, brought before the Juvenile Court of 
Cook County (Illinois) during the years 1900 to 1906, 6 278, or 
3.5 per cent, were Negroes. 7 The Negro population of Chicago 
in 1910 numbered 44,103, or 2 per cent of the total population. 

5 Shaw, Clifford R., et. al. t Delinquency Areas, Chicago, University of 
Chicago Press, 1929, p. 17. 

6 The series of 1900-1906 and 1917-1923 are not to be confused with Ta- 
ble I. The former deals with individuals (boys only) against whom one or 
more petitions have been filed. The latter deals with final orders of the court 
disposing of each case (boys and girls), and therefore, exceeds the former. 

7 The writer is indebted to Clifford R. Shaw, of the Institute for Juvenile 
Research, for use of original data dealing with 1900-1906 and 1917-1923 
series. For discussion of these data by Mr. Shaw see "Housing and the 
Community, Home Repair and Remodeling," Publications of the President's 
Conference on Home Building and Home Ownership, Washington, 1932, 
Vol. VIII, Part I. 


Negro delinquents, however, had increased to 102 or 6.2 per cent 
of the total delinquents (1,636) for that year. There were 8,141 
male delinquents, ten to seventeen years of age, brought before the 
Juvenile Court of Cook County during the years 1917 to 1923. 

Of that number 541, or 6.6 per cent, were Negroes. In the 
decade from 1910 to 1920 the Negro population had increased to 
109,594 or 4.1 per cent of the total population. In 1920 Negro 
delinquents had increased to 310 or 12.2 per cent of the total 
delinquents (2,550) for that year. By 1930 the Negro popula- 
tion had increased to approximately 6.5 per cent of the total popula- 
tion. 8 In the decade Negro delinquents had increased to 22.8 per 
cent (579) of the total (2,538) delinquents for the year. A com- 
parison of the population increase with the increase in delinquency 
(Table I) shows that in recent years the increase in delinquents 
has been, relatively, far greater. Table I shows the increase in 
Negro delinquents appearing before the Cook County Juvenile 
Court (Chicago). 

Table I. Total Yearly Delinquents Before the Cook County 

Juvenile Court, Showing Total Negroes and Per Cent 

to Total Delinquents, by Five Year Intervals 




Per Cent 

1905 . . 





1 636 



















There are other indices that may be used to indicate the increase 
in delinquency among Negroes. The foregoing, however, is con- 
sidered enough. 

Offenders of Boys' Court Age. The number of individual 
Negro male offenders appearing in the Boys' Court 9 exceeds the 
number of delinquents appearing in the Juvenile Court. Never- 
theless, the percentage of Negroes to the total cases shows a 

8 The final revision figures (official) are not available at this writing. 

9 The Boys' Court handles cases of boys from seventeen to twenty-one 
years of age. However, adults sometime appear in this court when arrested 
for offenses involving those who normally appear there. 



striking similarity in both groups. Even so the problem of the 
older boy is more acute because of the feeling of the futility of 
"going straight." The difficulty of securing jobs and lack of 
adequate housing facilities complicate the problem of adjustment 
for these boys. Even when a job is secured the level of income is 
so low that life for them is on a minimum subsistence level. 

The number of Negro boys appearing in the Boys' Court has 
been estimated in lay discussions as high as 40 per cent of the total 
number in court. The actual percentage is far lower. The number 
and percentage for the past four years are as follows : 10 

Table II. Percentage of Negro Boys of Total Cases in Boys 1 
Court, Chicago, Four Year Period. 




Per Cent 


6 902 


11 6 

1928 . 

5 680 


16 9 


6 209 


14 3 



1 347 


Housing and Income. An aspect of housing that receives 
little or no attention in the large centers of population is that of 
housing for unattached boys of sixteen years of age and over. It 
is generally assumed that the Y. M. C. A. and kindred organiza- 
tions are or should be the center of activities of unattached boys 
and young men. There is ample observational and some statistical 
evidence that such organizations reach but a small percentage of 
such cases. The lack of knowledge, training and experience, lack 
in range of social contacts, and lack of individual economic re- 
sources are all contributing factors which prevent such organiza- 
tions from serving many unattached boys. 

It is the opinion of some persons engaged in social service work 
among Negro boys appearing before the Municipal Court, Boys' 
Division, in the City of Chicago, that a considerable portion of 
crime among those appearing in this court is due to situations 
arising out of lack of proper facilities for housing on the one hand, 

10 The figures were supplied by Joseph D. Bryan, social worker among 
Negro boys in the Boys' Court. The yearly total of cases is approximate. 
The total number of Negro cases is accurate. 


and the extremely small income on the other. In the course of a 
study of juvenile delinquency among Negroes in Chicago, the 
writer has interviewed boys who have appeared in the Boys' Court. 
In many instances their stories have substantiated one another. 
These cases point to the fact that jobs are almost impossible to 
secure and when secured pay barely enough to cover room rent, 
board and a minimum of incidentals. 

There are two sources in Chicago through which these boys are 
generally housed. The first is the Hope Haven League. This is an 
organization headed by an individual who has had a long prison 
record and who, having renounced any further life in crime, has 
devoted himself to the establishment of a home where boys just 
released from prison may have an opportunity of getting a fresh 
start in life. A boy is allowed free room and board until he can 
secure work. In some instances this contact covers only a period 
of a few days. Others, however, must rely upon the resources of 
this organization for an indefinite period. Support of this organiza- 
tion comes from popular subscriptions and the resources of its 
founder. The second source of housing for those of Boys' Court 
age is in private homes or cheap hotels and is designed to care for 
those having jobs. Placements are most frequently made through 
Joseph D. Bryan, social worker among Negroes in the Boys' 
Court. The following quotation from a communication from Mr. 
Bryan suggests the nature of the problem : 

"The average wage for the average boy which we have had to work with 
is $10, ranging from $8 to $12. The average room and the kind of place 
that is required or suggested ranges from between $4 and $6 a week. The 
payment of $4 a week for his room, $1.20 for his carfare, $3.50 for his meal 
ticket, makes it almost impossible for a boy to keep out of trouble. The 
average home in which a boy is placed does not measure up to the standard. 
The average person whose spirit is fine is seldom able, educationally or 
religiously, to help the boy . . ." 

Attempts at Adjustment and Prevention. Until recent 
months the social service machinery of the Boys' Court would not 
allow for an intensive follow-up of the cases appearing therein. 
Practically all of the social work done was through various cultural 
or religious groups, arranging for workers to take care of boys 
identified with their own interests. Thus the Polish group or the 
Catholic group would have workers to care for members of their 
racial or religious identification. For the past three years, work 


among Negro boys has been done by Joseph D. Bryan. The be- 
ginnings of this work were voluntary and later secured religious 
backing. Excerpts from a communication from Mr. Bryan in- 
dicate something of the scope of the problem as it relates to hous- 
ing and crime, and the methods used for adjustment and preven- 

"In cases where boys do not have homes, friends, jobs, these are supposed 
to be secured. An attempt is made to study the case more thoroughly ; the 
boy is placed under supervision. This is especially true of those boys who 
do not have homes, parents or friends and are not linked up with churches 
or other agencies or organizations. We can get their family background, 
early reactions in life, etc., which makes it easier to help them find their 
niche. Jobs according to their fitness are usually secured. We secure 
clothing for them, then we find a place where they can stay and look out 
for themselves. But we still follow up the case of each boy for about six 
months or a year. If, after that time, we feel they are capable of looking 
out for themselves, we do what most agencies do, dismiss the case subject 
to reopening if necessary. No supervision case is disposed of until the boy's 
adjustment is considered permanent . . . ." 

In the course of contacts with hundreds of Negro boys appear- 
ing in the Boys' Court, Mr. Bryan is of the opinion that many of 
the boys are victims of circumstance. This is especially true in 
many cases where the boy is brought out of the South as a 
chauffeur for a private family or more often working in such 
capacity for a traveling salesman. In either case the employer 
promises a great deal to the boy as an inducement to enter such 
service. In some instances the boy drives his employer as far as 
a town or city near Chicago, where either of two general patterns 
of behavior is followed. Sometimes the boy is induced to put what 
little money he may have in the care of his employer. Later the 
ruse is employed of sending the boy into a restaurant to eat and 
while he is eating his employer drives away, leaving him completely 
stranded. In other cases, the employer gives the boy five or ten 
dollars and advises him that his services are no longer needed. 11 
Left on his own resources and in a situation to which his past ex- 
perience totally unsuits him, it is only a question of time before, 
being completely stranded, the boy, through sheer necessity, is 
driven to petty crime for a livelihood, or in other cases is arrested 
as a vagrant. 

11 Mr. Bryan reports that numerous cases of each type come to his atten- 
tion yearly. The writer has talked with two boys falling under the first 
type of situation and one under the latter. 


One of the important needs then revolves about the unattached 
Negro boy sixteen years of age and over. While this problem 
does not have to do with housing in the sense that surveys usually 
deal with it, it is, nevertheless, a real and acute problem. As a 
matter of assisting in adjustment to urban life in the North and a 
means of crime prevention, some cognizance of this problem is 
necessary. The establishment of a hotel, or boarding arrangements, 
comparable to the needs would go a long way toward alleviating 
a potential crime situation in the life of boys thus exploited. 

Efforts at Housing. An effort to fulfill the need of such 
housing facilities is in process of organization. Joseph D. Bryan 
is sponsoring such a movement. He is attempting to interest 
organizations and philanthropic-minded people of means to sup- 
port the establishment of a boys' hotel which wilt care for several 
hundred boys at a time. According to his plans, in connection 
with this hotel a social service program is planned which will meet 
the physical, recreational, educational, and all other needs of the boy. 
The recreational program is to parallel that of the Y. M. C. A., 
the chief difference in the two organizations being that the 
boys' hotel is designed for those of extremely limited economic 
means or no means whatsoever. In addition, the psychological 
aspect of the problem peculiar to the boy who feels that he does 
not fit into the "Y" scheme is met in this arrangement. Attempts 
are to be made to secure work that will fit the preparation of the 
individual on the one hand, and his desire for certain types of 
work on the other hand. In any event the boy is to have a home 
and the resources of the entire hotel, paying only that amount 
which his income allows. 

The Problem of the Adult Offender 

As serious as the situation is among juvenile and older boy 
offenders, the problem of crime among Negro adults in Chicago 
presents an even more dismal situation. The problem among adults 
rests not only upon the percentage to the total number of arrests 
and convictions but also upon the large share that Negroes con- 
tribute to serious offenses. In addition, Negro females contribute 
an exceedingly disproportionate percentage in crime among 

Extent of Crime Among Adults. There is need for great 
caution in the use of statistics bearing on adult crime. The lack 



of uniform entries, methods of reporting crimes, the personnel, 
are factors which illustrate the need of such caution. Neverthe- 
less, the Police Department Annual Reports 12 offer perhaps the 
best index to the extent of crime. Their reports on the more seri- 
ous offenses of manslaughter and murder are perhaps even more 
reliable than statistics on misdemeanors. 

The percentage of Negroes arrested, classified by male and 
female, to total arrests in Chicago is presented in Table III. In 
general, the yearly percentage of increase 13 for both sexes has 
been steadily on the up-grade. In only four years since 1914 have 

Table III. Persons Arrested and Arraigned before the 

Municipal and Criminal Courts of Chicago, by Five Year 

Intervals and Per Cent Negroes. 






Per Cent 



Per Cent 



99 954 

6 676 

6 7 

14 671 

2 832 

19 3 


79 730 

8 696 

10 9 

7 467 

1 160 

15 5 


246 719 

26 000 

10 5 

17 775 

5 155 



170 890 


21 8 

24 109 

11 599 

48 1 

* Report for 1930 unpublished at the time of the preparation of this paper. 

there been fluctuations showing a slight decrease from the preced- 
ing year. 

Negro males composed 6.7 per cent (6,676) of the total male 
arrests (99,954) in 1915. Negro females, in the same year, com- 
posed 19.3 per cent (2,832) of the total female arrests (14,671). 
The yearly percentage of the total number, for both males and 
females, has shown a steady increase, except the fluctuations in- 
dicated above. By 1929 Negro males composed 21.8 per cent 
(37,207) and Negro females 48.1 per cent (11,599) of the respec- 
tive total male (170,890) and female (24,109) arrests. In the 
course of the fifteen-year period the Negro population more than 

"The figures pertaining to adult crime are, unless otherwise indicated, 
from the Police Department Annual Reports, City of Chicago. The num- 
bers include Boys' Court cases. 

13 Percentages for each year, male and female, since 1914, have been com- 
puted by the writer. 


doubled, while in the same period the percentage of increase in 
arrests for males more than tripled, and almost tripled for the 
females. The percentage of the latter was virtually half of the 
total arrests. 

By dividing total arrests into two groups, ( 1 ) arrests for mis- 
demeanors, and (2) arrests for felonies, a clearer picture is ob- 
tained of crime among Negroes. 

The percentage of increase in arrests for misdemeanors is not 
as great as for total arrests over a comparable period. The in- 
crease and fluctuations in the early years of the period are almost 
identical, whereas the percentage of increase in misdemeanors in 
the later years of the period has not kept pace. The percentage of 
convictions for misdemeanors, however, has been more constant, 
both in steadiness and range of increase. The percentages of 
arrests and convictions of Negro males in 1915 were identical. The 
arrests for misdemeanors by 1929 had risen to 11.3 per cent, while 
convictions had risen to 17.8 per cent. The percentage of arrests 
and convictions of Negro females in the same period was higher 
and more constant in the increase. In 1915 the Negro female 
arrests for misdemeanors were 19.5 per cent of the total female 
arrests for such charges, while convictions were 24.6 per cent of 
the total. By 1929 Negro female arrests were 49.4 per cent of the 
total, while convictions rose to 53.9 per cent of the total female 

Arrests and convictions for felonies are a better index to the 
extent of crime than comparable data for misdemeanors. The 
more serious nature of the crimes, the greater care in investiga- 
tions and in recording data, are contributing factors in making 
felonies a more reliable index to the extent of crime. The percent- 
age of Negro male arrests for felonies to total arrests for felonies 
has risen from 8.3 per cent in 1915 to 22.3 per cent in 1929. The 
percentage of convictions has been even higher, rising from 10 per 
cent in 19} 5 to 28.4 in 1929. While numerous popular reasons 
are ascribed for the increase among Negroes such as ( 1 ) Negroes 
are more readily arrested than whites, and (2) they cannot as 
easily furnish bail or hire good lawyers, we are here interested 
primarily in the extent of crime. Negro female arrests and con- 
victions for felonies in general are much lower than for the males. 
In 1915 Negro females composed 17.1 per cent of the total female 
arrests for felonies as compared with 26.4 per cent of such arrests 



in 1929. The percentage of convictions in 1914 was 12.8 as 
against 16.3 per cent in 1929. 

Table IV. Ratio of Homicides by Negroes to Total Homi- 
cides, Chicago, 1921-1928. 




Felonious Homicides* 



Per Cent 



Per Cent 



Per Cent 

















* Murders and manslaughters combined in annual reports. 

The percentage of Negroes arrested for murder and man- 
slaughter presents an apprehensive aspect of crime among Negroes. 
The yearly percentage of Negroes charged with murder and man- 
slaughter is presented in Table IV. Considered in terms of the 
relative proportion to the total population and of felonious homi- 
cides per 100,000 nativity population, the Negro ranks first. How- 
ever, a mitigating circumstance for Negroes is the fact that the 
identity of the Negro race is invariably made known, whereas "un- 
known" cases would raise the percentage of other major groups. 
Even so, unless all "unknown" cases belonged to one major group, 
Negroes would still rank first. 

Thus far materials have been presented to indicate the extent of 
the problem of delinquency and crime. Attention will next be 
focused on the geographical distribution of Negro delinquents in 

In the light of previous studies 14 it is assumed that the distribu- 
tion of delinquents may be used as an index to the character of 
communities. There are, certainly, numerous other indices that 
are available. Later, however, a canvass of the income levels of 
families in which there are delinquents will form an important part 

14 Shaw, Clifford R., et al., Delinquency Areas; Frazier, E. Franklin, The 
Negro Family in Chicago; and Moses, Earl R., Juvenile Delinquency Among 
Negroes in Chicago (now nearing completion). 


of the materials. The distribution of delinquents, then, takes on 
added significance for our purpose. 

II. The Geographical Distribution of Negro Delinquents 

The growth, expansion and increased density of Negro juvenile 
delinquency in Chicago follow closely kindred developments in the 
Negro population increase. However interesting the historical 
aspects of such a story may be, interest here centers about the 
present situation. Discussion, then, is confined to the most recent 
data available, eliminating reference to the historical aspects of such 

The majority of the Negro population of Chicago reside in an 
area popularly designated as the "Black Belt." Within the "Belt" 
life varies markedly and changes are constantly in evidence. 
Cognizance of the dynamic character of the "Belt" is, after all, 
fundamental to an understanding of Negro life therein. 

The Negro population is to a great extent concentrated within 
a large area extending from Sixteenth Street on the north to 
Sixty-ninth Street on the south, and from Wentworth Avenue 
on the west to Cottage Grove Avenue on the east. The area out- 
lined extends approximately seven miles in length and is from a 
mile to a mile and a half in width. While the majority of the 
Negro population live within this area others have invaded ad- 
jacent territory. There are, in addition, satellite communities of 
Negroes in other sections of the city. Foremost in these satellite 
groups are the Negro population along Lake Street, those in the 
old "Ghetto" along Maxwell Street, and the Morgan Park com- 

How are Negro delinquents scattered in these communities? 
What differences in community life does their distribution indicate? 

Distribution of both Negro male and female delinquents for the 
year 1929 shows a high degree of concentration in certain areas. 
When compared with earlier series (not included) there is evidence 
of a definite tendency to push farther southward. Population data, 
by small areas, which would allow the computation of the ratio of 
Negro delinquents to total delinquents by age groups are not avail- 
able. However, all indications are that the present chief delin- 
quency areas are from just above Thirty-ninth Street to Fifty- 


fifth Street, and in the Lake Street and Maxwell Street districts. 15 
Although the distribution of delinquents is used as an index to 
the character of communities, caution is needed in generalizing 
therefrom. This is especially true in its relationship to housing. 
Indeed, areas characterized by the extreme of physical deteriora- 
tion may not be the chief contributors to delinquency. The in- 
vasion of business has driven the population farther out. So that, 
instead, the areas that are the chief contributors to delinquency, as 
well indeed to other pathological conditions, are likely to be those 
areas in process of decided change. Here the processes of social 
and individual disorganization and reorganization are extremely 
active. Changes, therefore, are rapid. 

The foregoing is presented merely to indicate the distribution of 
Negro delinquents, showing the differences within areas. How 
the extent of delinquency may be regarded as an index to the 
character of a community will be made clearer in the material 
embodied in Section V of this appendix, p. 183. 

III. Economic Levels of Income among Negroes 

Occupational types and economic levels of income offer a casual 
index to the problems of economic and social maladjustment among 
Negroes. All cases involving maladjustment, of course, may not 
be traced directly to these sources. In individual instances the 
problem of intelligent spending is a potent factor. Nevertheless, 
as a racial group the Negro must face the problem of low income 
as against high, if not exorbitant, rent. 

Emphasis in this section will be placed on the economic income 
of the "average" Negro and those at the lower economic level. A 
second emphasis will be on the average income at different occupa- 
tional levels. Passing attention only will be given to the highly 
skilled worker and the professional individual. This position is 
based on the assumption that the intelligence level required in such 
occupational types, plus the social and economic resources available, 
permit considerable freedom in determining, with deliberate choice, 
the relationship of income to rent. The effort, then, is to see the 

15 Lack of funds prevented the making of maps showing the actual home 
location of each delinquent. In addition, the 1930 Federal Census data by 
census tracts for Chicago are not yet available. The calculation of the per- 
centage of delinquency for areas, on a basis of the same age and sex popula- 
tion, is far more significant than mere numbers of delinquents found in each 


average and lower economic levels among Negroes, with the con- 
sequent standards of living possible at those levels. 

Popular and technical discussions about the Negro worker have 
centered recently in calling attention to the losses that Negroes 
have sustained in various lines of employment. Such discussions 
have reached almost the point of hysteria. A careful check of the 
facts probably would show that the losses sustained have been 
primarily at the lower occupational levels. The highly skilled and 
professional types have probably made creditable, if not unprece- 
dented, gains. The losses at the lower occupational levels have 
been occasioned by the entrance of white workers into lines hereto- 
fore considered too menial for their consideration. Economic 
necessity has thus broken down the prejudiced attitudes that have 
existed toward certain types of work. As competition becomes 
keener further losses to Negro workers appear on the horizon. 
How can the losses be offset ? What is being done along this line ? 

Attitudes of white employers toward the employment of 
Negroes range from those who report most unsatisfactorily about 
Negro employees to those who are enthusiastic and who praise the 
Negro worker in highest terms. A placement secretary of wide 
experience in the placement of Negro workers in industry reports 
the following reasons given for the nonemployment of Negroes : 16 

1. Lack of skill ; 

2. They (Negro workers) lack long experience; 

3. Unreliable; 

4. Opposed greatly by unions. 

In other cases white employers simply state that they wish to 
experiment with white workers, or that "white workers won't 
work with Negroes" and give kindred explanations. 

The types of situations mentioned above are in marked contrast 
to the experience of other white employers. Numerous com- 
munications testifying to the satisfactory services of Negroes could 
be cited. The following excerpt from a communication may be 
regarded as typical at least in idea and content, though exceeding 
other documents in range of enthusiasm. E. C. Otis, Superin- 
tendent, Beaver Products Company, writes: 

"Many of the manufacturers have an idea that the only place Negro 
labor can be used is as porters, housemen and janitors. From my experience 

"Excerpt from a communication from Mrs. Martha Wilson-Edwards, 
Placement Secretary, Chicago Urban League. 


with Negro labor I find that they can do anything a white man can do when 
given the same consideration and the same opportunities. I have handled 
all classes of men and find the Negro laborer, both skilled and unskilled, 
will give a firm the same cooperation that the white man does. I find them 
just as observing and just as quick to learn and they will work for a firm's 
interest equally as well as a white man. There isn't a manufacturing plant, 
barring none, with the proper supervision, that Negro labor cannot be used 
in and the plants operated efficiently. Seventy-five per cent of my help is 
colored labor. Competitors in our same lines visit this plant and tell me 
that I have one of the best organizations they have ever seen. Everyone is 
working in harmony, production is rolling along smoothly and there is no 
confusion in any department. I can truthfully say that I haven't a Negro 
worker who is not supporting me 100 per cent. When I was appointed 
executive of this plant there was approximately 25 per cent Negro labor, 
and the plant a losing proposition. Today, with 75 per cent Negro help it is 
a paying proposition and one of the best plants in this division. I think this 
is an answer to Negro labor. From the bottom of the list with 25 per cent 
Negro help to the head of the list with 75 per cent Negro help." 1T 

The foregoing communication attests the worth of the Negro 
in industry. It reflects the ability of Negro labor when given the 
opportunity, as well as convinces the white employer that produc- 
tion need not slacken because of employing Negroes. 

Nevertheless, however enthusiastic individual white employers 
are of Negro labor, unless that enthusiasm is reflected in all situa- 
tions with wages equal to those paid white workers, the Negro is 
at a disadvantage. In short, enthusiasm minus economic equality 
for the same piece and quality of work is exploitation. One with 
considerable experience in placement work writes: 

"In visiting power-machine factories I have found colored and white girls 
working side by side performing the same operation but paid different wages. 
While they are paid on piece work basis colored girls producing the same 
quantity of work receive from $10 to $15 while white girls receive from 
$18 to $20 .... In domestic service work, it has been our experience that 
white maids usually get about $5 more per week than Negro maids." 

Assuming equality of work, the best answer to both sides of the 
questions is in the actual income levels of Negroes in different 
occupational classifications. 

Negro Female Workers 

Data relating to income levels among Negro female workers 
presented herein are based on the wages of 941 Negro females 

17 Quoted from the annual report of H. N. Robinson, Employment Secre- 
tary, Chicago Urban League. 


placed by the Industrial Department of the Chicago Urban League 
during 1930. 18 It is not enough merely to note the income levels 
in occupational types. Many of the women are heads of homes, 
either because of death, divorce, desertion, separation, or for other 
reasons. In many cases there is added responsibility because of 
children to be supported. Is there any wonder that these women 
experience difficulty in making "both ends meet"? Indeed, that 
would be impossible except for employing various means to that 
end. Rooming in crowded quarters, the sharing of household ex- 
penses by relatives or close friends, or taking a roomer into the 
home are typical means used to meet expenses. In any case, the 
necessity of employing such means adds to economic and social 
maladjustment, inevitably affecting even the moral tone of in- 
dividual lives and of the community. 

"Bertha M is the mother of three children, Ellen, five ; Mary, three ; 

and Harold, nine months. The mother was deserted before the youngest 
child was born. The family rooms with a young married couple on Thirty- 
first Street east of State Street. The mother does 'day work/ earning $3.50 
a day. Work is irregular. When the mother is out, Ethel, the young mar- 
ried friend, 'looks after the children.' Cooking privileges are allowed. The 
home is situated on the third floor of a brick building; the ground floor is 
used for a store, the two upper floors are used for residence purposes. 
Physical deterioration characterizes the building and the community as well. 
For the one room occupied, plus the privileges of the home, the mother pays 
$5 a week. In addition, food and clothing for herself and the children must 
be provided from her earnings." 

Other cases could be cited. Case documents, given in their own 
words, telling the plight of such families and their valiant efforts 
to maintain bare sustenance, present the seriousness of such prob- 
lems. 19 However, in passing, it may be noted that the case quoted 

18 Data supplied by Mrs. Martha Wilson-Edwards, Placement Secretary 
of the Chicago Urban League. When work upon this report was started 
it was anticipated that extensive data from the general Negro and white 
population groups would be secured. Lack of funds and time prevented the 
gathering of such data. However, the data presented may be safely regarded 
as typical for the Negro group in the occupational classifications given. 
Due to the comprehensive contacts of the organization and the recognized 
quality of its work, the data are unquestionably authentic. 

19 It was earlier anticipated that some such documents would be included 
in this paper. The reason for the omission is explained in footnote 18. In 
many cases involving appeals for aid, individuals are adept at presenting the 
case in the most serious possible manner. However, experience and investi- 
gation will reveal, usually, the truth of such claims. 


above is not unusual. Hundreds of cases applying to the Chicago 
Urban League during the winter (1931) reveal the plight of these 
lower level income persons. Although the winter was unusual in 
the number of appeals, the seriousness of such cases is the rule 
even in normal times. 

Household Employees. General houseworkers number the 
largest occupational classification placements (352) made in this 
study. The average wage paid for such work is $10 a week. The 
range of wages, however, is from $5 to $20 a week. The higher 
limits of the range represent unusual wages. Such wages are 
usually paid only by wealthy families who live in suburban North 
Shore homes. These wages are inducements to secure reliable 
and steady help, solving the difficulty of what would otherwise 
involve a large turnover of household help. Nurse maids and sec- 
ond maids usually receive $12 a week. Here again if higher wages 
are paid it is an effort of suburban families to secure dependable 
service. On the other hand, wages within the city often fall below 
the average, dropping in some cases as low as $8 or $10 a week. 
Some families take advantage of a stringent economic situation by 
cutting wages. This practice, however, has not been extensively 
used by established households having those with lengthy employ- 
ment history in their service. 20 Such families maintain their wage 
scale. This is especially true of suburban families who do not 
wish to jeopardize the services of steady and reliable help. 

Cooks, on an average, receive a higher average wage than any 
other type of household employee. Fifteen dollars a week is the 
average wage paid them. In some instances the range of wages 
extends as high as $25 a week. Day workers (the second largest 
number of placements) usually receive $3.50 a day. Many of the 
women engaged in this line of work have enough different homes 
in which to work to keep at work daily. Some use such work only 
two or three days a week as a means of augmenting the family 
income. On the other hand, there is loss of considerable energy 
by those who desire steady work but are unable to secure it. 

From merely an economic standpoint the services of married 

20 Mrs. Martha Wilson-Edwards, Placement Secretary, Chicago Urban 
League, reports that most of the workers placed by her in established house- 
holds have rendered satisfactory service and consequently have not suffered 
loss of time from work nor wage reductions. 


couples in private families offer a chance for the prolific accumula- 
tion of savings. The fact that the wages received are practically 
clear from all except voluntary expenditures makes this possible. 
On the other hand, this advantage is counteracted by the lack of 
a congenial home atmosphere devoid of association with one's 
work. Another disadvantage is in the long hours of service re- 
quired. Most couples, however, are comfortably housed and often 
receive unusual privileges as inducements to stay. Hence the per- 
sonal tastes of the couple are often fulfilled in such service to the 
complete satisfaction of their physical and mental desires. 

Couples thus employed are not faced directly with the problem 
of the physical aspects of housing the requirement of rent, and 
the physical and moral tone of the community. Nevertheless, 
there is a backwash on the Negro community that probably affects 
the community more than the individuals involved. On their "day 
off" or for week-ends couples employed in private families usually 
seek the society of their friends in the Negro community. They 
thus become more or less periodic roomers. Some couples even 
maintain a room for just such occasions. An arrangement on this 
basis may be economically beneficial to the head of the home, but 
usually it involves some degree of crowding. 

The wages paid to couples employed in private families range 
from $125 to $150 a month. The amount covers wages for the 
services of both man and wife. 

Laundry Workers and Hotel Maids. Placements of Negro 
females in laundry work revolve usually about two types of opera- 
tions: (1) hand ironers; and (2) mangle operators. Hand iron- 
ers are employed in the small neighborhood hand laundries and for 
special service, such as the ironing of shirts, in the large laundries. 
Such operations are often on a piecework basis. Mangle operators 
are almost exclusively employed in mass production work in the 
large steam laundries. Those employed as hand ironers average 
$15 a week income. This, however, involves speedy and intensive 
work. The average income of the mangle operator is $12 a week. 
She receives less than the hand ironer because the operation in- 
volves primarily flat work done with machine operation. Wages 
for either type of service do not vary much from the income levels 


Hotel maids receive about the same wages as laundry workers. 
Variations in wages are usually reflected in the standards of the 
hotel. That is, the higher class hotels pay slightly more and in turn 
require a higher degree of personal neatness and efficiency. The 
average wage scale for hotel maids ranges from $12to$15a week, 
depending upon hotel standards. 

Factory Workers. Wages paid to Negro females engaged in 
various types of factory work range from $8 to $15 a week. The 
wage paid depends upon the nature of the operation performed. 
Individual cases of highly specialized work receive as high as $25 
a week. These cases, however, are comparatively rare. 

Power-machine operators usually work on a piecework rate. 
This means intensive speed to maintain production. The prevail- 
ing incomes from this type of work range from $8 to $10 a week. 
It is for the same operation, the same quality of work and the same 
output that an observer of wide experience noted that Negro 
females receive less than white females. 

The term "hand sewers" refers here to those employed in some 
type of factory work involving a nonmachine operation. The 
average wage paid for this type of work is $15 a week. 

Those engaged in some form of automobile-parts manufacturing 
receive an average wage of $13 a week. The packing industries, 
while often not offering as dignified work, pay more. However, 
even here the average is sometimes lower. The range of wages 
in the packing industry runs from $12 to $15 a week. 

Trained Workers. The classification of occupational types 
and operations could be continued. It is enough, however, to in- 
dicate the prevailing wages received. The wages of Negro females 
rarely cover a wide range in such a variety of occupational groups 
as tie, lamp-shade and pillow makers ; or salesladies and stock-girls ; 
or soda dispensers and counter-girls. Nevertheless, there is one 
group to which this does not apply. The income of stenographers 
and office workers usually ranges from $15 to $25 a week. The 
average is $20 a week. 

The character of the work and the training involved, inevitably 
call for higher compensation than the work of unskilled and semi- 
skilled work. Even so, the average income for the Negro female 
stenographer or clerical help is less than that generally paid white 


workers. Loop 21 workers in these lines usually receive $20 a week 
and upwards. Many receive $25 to $35 a week. 22 The earnings 
of Negro female workers, however, approximate the average in- 
come of white workers employed in small outlying business estab- 
lishments. In addition, the same rate of pay is received for the 
same type of work by those employed in civic or philanthropic 

In general, Negro female workers receive less income than 
white female workers for the same type and quality of work. This 
is significantly true for occupational work as nurses or second 
maids, power-machine operators, salesladies, clerical and steno- 
graphic work. Placements made by the Chicago Urban League 
(1930) of Negro female workers is presented in Table V, show- 
ing average wage, wage range, and the average and range among 
white female workers. 

Negro Male Workers 

The Negro male worker, as in the case of the Negro female 
worker, usually receives less pay for the same type and quality of 
work than do white workers. It is true that there are notable ex- 
ceptions to this statement. The exceptions, however, are primarily 
to be found in the higher levels of income involving higher occupa- 
tional levels. 

Not only does the Negro male face a difference in wage but he 
faces as well problems of lay-offs, of not being hired until white 
workers are absorbed in industry, and kindred difficulties. These 
aspects of Negro labor problems are common knowledge and are 
reflected in the stories of hundreds of workers. A terse but pointed 
summary of some situations that Negro workers face is contained 
in the following : 

"The introduction of new labor-saving machinery has been another factor 
to prove detrimental to the Negro. With increased unemployment among 
white people there has been a sentiment to appeal to the sentimentality of 
employers, so that in some places Negroes have been replaced by white 
workers . . . Organized labor continued to add to the burden of Negro 
workers, not only in some locals denying admission, but even when ad- 

21 The Loop is the central business district of Chicago. 

22 This statement is based on an inquiry among a limited number of white 
workers in the Loop. 



Table V. Placements Made by the Chicago Urban League 
(1930) of Negro Female Workers * 


D Females 










General Housework . . 
Nurse Maid 
Second Maid 



$5 to $20 



$15 to $25 
18 to 20 

Cook . . 



15 to 25 


Day Work 





Hand Ironers 
Mangle Operators 
Power-machine Oper- 




! ' 

8 to 10 

10 to 15 

Hand Sewing 




Hotel Maid 
Auto-parts Manu- 




12 to 15 


13.45 1[ 

Packing Industry .... 



12 to 15 


Stock Girl 






Soda Dispenser 
Counter Girl (Sand- 






Waitress. . 



5 to 7 


Tie Maker 




Pillow Maker 
Lamp-shade Maker** 
Stenographer- Office 







8 to 10 

15 to 25 

20 to 35 

Date and Nut Fac- 
tory Work 


8 to 10 

Couples in Private 






All Industries II $17 . 53 

All Manufacturing Industries^ 15.51 

Miscellaneous Manufacturing *| 12 . 00 

Nonmanufacturing Industries 19 . 82 

Hotels and Restaurants If 14 . 46 

Laundries If 14 . 67 

* Data furnished by Mrs. Martha Wilson-Edwards, Placement Secretary, 
Chicago Urban League. J No difference in wages. 

t No significant difference from the average. Data not available. 

If Data secured from advance release of Illinois Department of Labor, 
Bureau of Labor Statistics, average weekly earnings as of June, 1931. 

|| Predominantly Negro workers; i.e., in large wholesale establishments. 

** Piecework rate. 


mitting them their opportunities were often blocked through underground 
methods of prejudice and intimidation." 23 

Appeals to the sentiment of the employer to replace the Negro 
worker with one that is white have been noted especially within 
the past two years. In cities and towns in the South it is reported 
that department store heads have even been threatened with a boy- 
cott if Negro workers were not replaced by whites. 24 

Even as members of unions Negro workers are not assured of 
equal chances of employment nor of equal wages. It is unques- 
tionably true that the attitude and practices of unions vary toward 
the Negro worker. Some use direct, others subtle means to deny 
him membership. In some cases where membership is granted, 
similar measures determine the amount of work Negro members 
secure. The whole story of unionism in relation to the Negro has 
been too well canvassed in books and in the Negro press to bear 
repetition here. However, before passing on, reference will be 
made to the situation in Chicago. In this connection A. C. Thayer 
writes : 

"Negro workers suffer from discrimination in their wage rates in the City 
of Chicago from two angles. First, the angle of the unions. In most of the 
well-paid jobs under union domination Negro wage earners seldom reap 
the reward of good wages because of the fact that they are few in number 
in trade unions. There are some unions which refuse to accept Negroes into 
their group. In all unions where Negroes are accepted, such as the brick- 
layers, the plasterers and the hod-carriers, they receive equal wages. In 
the electricians union, however, a separate scale of wages has been in vogue 
and Negroes are not permitted on big jobs down town but rather do repair 
work mostly, which very often is confined to the territory in which they 
live in large numbers. Secondly, discrimination has been found in wages 
where Negroes and whites do the same work, based largely on color. This 
is especially true of women." K 

Common Labor. In periods of industrial activity common 
labor is a prolific source of employment for Negroes. The wages 
paid depend upon the extent of activity and consequently upon de- 
mand and supply. Even so, under ordinary or even near-normal 
circumstances the range of wages does not show extreme differ- 

23 Quoted from the annual report of H. N. Robinson, Employment Secre- 
tary, Chicago Urban League. 

24 Two such cases were reported to the writer in New Orleans. In one case 
some concessions were made. In the other case the manager refused to 
make any concessions. The latter store has a large Negro patronage. 

25 Communication from A. C. Thayer, Director, Department of Industrial 
Relations, Chicago Urban League. 


ences. The average wage paid for common labor is 45 cents an 
hour, or slightly more than $3.50 a day. Overtime or the peculiari- 
ties of certain jobs may increase this income. An exception to 
this average income may be found in common labor serving union 
workers on jobs dominated by unions. The hourly wage rate in 
such circumstances may range anywhere from 65 cents to a maxi- 
mum of $1 an hour. Such cases, however, are not plentiful enough 
to cause any unusual degree of enthusiasm. 

Packing Plant Workers. The packing industry in Chicago 
is another source productive of jobs for Negro workers. Work 
in the packing plants may in general be classed as common labor, 
although this classification depends upon one's definition of com- 
mon labor, semi-skilled and skilled work. Within the plant some 
work classed as semi-skilled would hardly stand the test of rigid 
classification. In any event the rate paid does not exhibit signifi- 
cant difference. The average wage paid in the "stock yards" is 
42^2 cents an hour. 26 In some cases 45 cents is the hourly wage. 
The work shift is on an eight-hour basis. 

Skilled Factory Workers. Negroes engaged in skilled work 
in factories receive an average of 75 cents an hour. Cognizance, 
however, must be taken of varying conditions in factories. These 
conditions vary from policies within the organization to competi- 
tion between factories engaged in the same line of production. The 
range, then, for skilled work extends from 60 cents to 85 cents an 
hour. It is significant to note that the average wage paid to white 
skilled workers in factories is 90 cents an hour an average that 
exceeds the highest range paid to Negro workers. On the other 
hand it is to be noted that there are factories where no differences 
are made, on a basis of color, in the hourly wage rate. 

Holders usually work on a piecework rate basis. The average 
wage is $35 a week. The actual earnings of the individual molder 
depend upon the skill, precision, speed and sustained output that 
he is able to maintain. Individual cases are known that earn con- 
siderably more than the average quoted. These cases are, however, 
by no means typical of the group. 

Trained Garage Mechanics. Trained and experienced ga- 
rage mechanics usually earn $30 a week. This is considerably lower 

The "stock yards" are Chicago's noted packing industry center. 


than the $45 average earned by the white mechanic, comparably 
trained and experienced. The disparity in earnings is explained 
largely by the quality of openings available to Negro mechanics. 
White mechanics secure work in garages within or bordering on 
the Loop. The prices charged for work here are higher than in 
outlying districts. The North Shore business of expensive car 
maintenance is an added factor. The Negro mechanic, on the 
other hand, must primarily seek work in garages on the South 
Side. The difference in volume of work accounts in part for lower 
wage scales. Some of the South Side garages meet the problem 
of labor by offering a piecework rate. The low rate, plus lack of 
volume of business, reflects itself in still lower wage incomes. The 
garage mechanic employed on this basis usually has a weekly in- 
come range of from $20 to $25. 

Janitors. Any discussion of janitors must take into considera- 
tion union versus nonunion men and the janitor in charge of large 
buildings as against those who care for a series of small dwellings. 
The average weekly wage of $20 quoted in Table VI refers to the 
latter group. Union janitors in charge of large buildings often 
earn $200 per month and upwards, depending upon the building 
location, the type of building, and the responsibility involved. 
Some Negro janitors fall within this group. But there is a large 
area where the individual must depend on securing the care of a 
series of one, two or more apartment dwellings. Ordinarily the 
wage rate is $10 an apartment per month. The securing of apart- 
ments is a potent factor relating to income. In addition, the num- 
ber of apartments that one may take responsibility for, yet render 
satisfactory service, creates a definite limitation. 

Restaurant Workers. The range of wages paid for restau- 
rant work (kitchen help) revolves about the quality of the restau- 
rant, the volume of business, and the wages paid by chain restau- 
rants. The average paid in this line of work is $12 a week; $15 
is usually the maximum. The range is from $10 to $14 a week. 
This range includes prevailing prices paid by chain restaurants, 
the moderate class restaurant, and the exclusive class restaurant. 
Outside of this range comes the extremely cheap class of restau- 
rant found in the homeless man area or the moderate class restau- 
rant of the business and residential areas. The wages paid in the 


first of the latter classes are often as low as $7 or $8 a week; 
those in the latter class are somewhat higher. 

Hotel Waiters. It is especially difficult to estimate the aver- 
age income of hotel waiters. They rely primarily upon tips as their 
source of income. This is augmented by a low-range monthly 
wage. One of Chicago's noted places pays no wage whatsoever. 
On the other hand one of its large hotels pays $40 a month. In 
places where wages are paid, they rarely exceed this amount. An 
additional aspect of this type of hotel employment, however, should 
be noted. In some instances whites have replaced Negro help. In 
other cases white girls have replaced Negro men. Whenever such 
changes are made the employer attributes it to a desire "to ex- 
periment." Except in the cases of girls, no change in the wage 
rate is made ; at least, if so, it is not made public. 

Housemen. The duties of a houseman are by no means cer- 
tain. They vary from household to household. Sometimes the 
houseman acts as butler, yardman and handyman; in other cases 
he is a combination butler and chauffeur. Still other combinations 
exist. In any event the average 'wage is the same. The ability of 
the individual to ingratiate himself into the esteem of his employer 
may aid him in earning above the average. This average, for 
Negroes, is $20 a week. The white houseman averages $25 a 

Chauffeurs. The weekly wage of the chauffeur depends upon 
whether or not he is merely expected to drive or to keep up re- 
pairs on the car as well. Increasingly the latter is expected. The 
average wage paid to the Negro chauffeur for this type of service 
is $35 a week, which is in contrast to the $45 average paid to the 
white chauffeur. 

The foregoing discussion of average incomes among Negro 
workers is not intended as being exhaustive. The desire has been, 
primarily, to present the average wage and wage range involved 
among certain classes of work in Chicago where large numbers of 
Negro workers are employed. Table VI presents these data with 
some additional occupational classifications included. It is espe- 
cially to be noted that the classifications "unskilled," "semi-skilled," 
and "skilled" worker have been intentionally omitted. Occupational 
definition, based on such classification, is not identical in all in- 


Table VI. Average Weekly Wages and Range of Wages for 

Specific Occupational Classifications, Negro Male 

Workers in Chicago. 


Negro Males 

White Males 



Range of 



Range of 

Common Labor 





27.50- 38.00 
20.00- 25.00(1 


10.00- 25.00 


10.00- 14.00 



12.00- 20.00 


18.00- 25.00 



















Packing Industry 
Skilled Factory Work 

M older s^f 

Garage Mechanic 

Garage (mechanic) 

Car Washer 


Laundry Work 

Restaurant Work:. . . . 
Kitchen Help .... 

Soda Dispenser .... 

Theater Usher 

Delivery Truck Work . 



All Industries* $28.41 

All Manufacturing Industries J 26 . 52 

Miscellaneous Manufacturing j 25 . 17 

Nonmanufacturing Industries* 32 . 85 

* No significant difference from the average. 

t Data not available. 

t Data secured from advance release of Illinois Department of Labor, Bu- 
reau of Labor Statistics, average weekly earnings as of June, 1931. 

No difference in wages (whites and Negroes) in some factories. 

*j[ Piecework. 

|| When engaged on piecework. 

** Refers to janitors who take care of small apartment buildings and dwell- 

ft Data not exactly comparable. 

dustries, nor in different plants within the same industry. It was, 
therefore, felt that a clearer picture of income levels might be 
presented by taking specific occupational classifications. In addi- 
tion, such classifications permitted consideration of smaller units 
and for variations within units. 


By way of summary it may be noted that the vast majority of 
Negro male workers in Chicago receive a weekly wage ranging 
from $20 to $22.50. During periods of unusual industrial activity 
this range is somewhat higher. Negro female workers average 
approximately $10 a week. These averages, however, are pre- 
sented advisedly. One must bear in mind wide differences in 
different occupational levels. 

Parental Income and Delinquency 

It is generally assumed that the income level in families where 
there are- delinquents has a direct relationship to the delinquency 
of the child. Whether or not this assumption is accepted as valid 
is largely a matter of definition. Certainly there are families where 
the economic situation is primarily involved in the child's delin- 
quency. On the other hand, there are instances where the income 
is virtually identical, yet the child is not delinquent. Can these two 
situations be reconciled with the assumption set forth above? The 
explanation of the relations of income to delinquency is not found 
merely in this direct relationship. The occupational level of the 
parents and the area of the city in which the family lives are two 
potent factors. Other factors, of course, could be enumerated. 

An analysis of the occupational classifications of the parents of 
delinquents shows most of them in the lower income occupational 
levels. 27 Indeed, the occupational classifications parallel those 
quoted in Tables V and VI above. "Common labor" for the men 
and "domestic service" work for women (except the "housewife") 
are the two occupational levels, respectively for male and female, 
that exceed all others. 28 Less than one-half of 1 per cent of the 

"Based on an analysis of family backgrounds of juvenile delinquents 
appearing before the Cook County Juvenile Court, Chicago, series of 1929. 

28 Of 403 Negro male delinquents in 1929, the parental occupational classifi- 
cation in the two groups given above was 39.1 per cent and 29.8 per cent, 
respectively. The percentages in both cases would be greater if the "occupa- 
tion unknown" classification were omitted from the calculations. Work on 
almost 600 additional cases shows this sample as typical. A canvass of 
nearly 2,000 white delinquents reveals a considerable number of fathers as 
engaged in "common labor." More of the mothers, than among Negroes, 
are classed as "housewife." This is offset somewhat by a larger percentage 
of the children being gainfully employed. 


fathers of delinquent Negro boys (1929) fall into a professional 
classification. 29 

It has just been indicated that the parents of Negro delinquents 
are primarily in occupational levels of low status. Income levels, 
then, likewise are low. An analysis of the income levels of these 
parents reveals their average income as being virtually the same as 
presented for the general group of Negro male and female work- 
ers. 30 The virtually parallel occupational work accounts for this. 
Whether or not these low levels of income entirely account for 
delinquency is doubtful. It must be borne in mind that the previ- 
ous life of the parents, the degree of urbanization they have under- 
gone, and their own wishes must be taken into account. In addi- 
tion, in a high percentage of cases, both the fathers and mothers 
of the delinquents were employed outside the home. Yet, so too, 
were many of the men and women from the general population. 31 

Efforts to Increase Openings and Efficiency 

The Chicago Urban League has been the pioneer in seeking to 
obtain new openings in work available to Negroes. Likewise has 
it pioneered in an effort for increased efficiency among Negro 
workers. Its efforts, within the past two years, have been aug- 
mented by a newspaper campaign in behalf of Negro workers. 32 

29 Including not only physicians, dentists, etc., but also workers in clerical, 
civic or governmental positions, and the like. 

30 The median wage for the fathers of Negro delinquents was $28 ; the 
median for the mothers was $13.57. Quotations are based on the 1929 Negro 
cases before the Cook County Juvenile Court. While the income levels 
presented are higher than present (1931) average incomes for these occupa- 
tional types, they are comparable to average incomes at these occupational 
levels in 1929. 

31 In most cases the parents of the delinquents undoubtedly live in areas 
characterized by physical deterioration, vice, crime, and delinquency because 
of low-income levels and the seeking of cheap rent. Yet there are known 
cases where they seek to maintain the simple existence that characterized 
their life in the South. This situation is likewise reflected in the home life 
of some of the men employed in the stock yards, whose wives also work out- 
side the home. Care must, therefore, be exercised in drawing conclusions 
about delinquency merely on a basis of low-income levels and the fact that 
both parents work outside the home. We do not know, for example, how 
many such cases there are where delinquency does not exist ; nor do we know 
in how many such families there are or are not children. 

32 The campaign sponsored by the Chicago Whip. This campaign is 
characterized by the slogan Don't Spend Your Money Where You ^Cannot 
Work. The effort has centered on forcing employment of Negroes in retail 
establishments located in the Negro area and primarily patronized by 


In addition to the free employment service offered by the Urban 
League a considerable portion of the Industrial Department's ef- 
fort is centered in attempts at the placement of Negroes in lines 
of work and in places that have heretofore not been open to them. 
The results along this line were negligible during the past year. 
This is attributed to the economic depression. However, through 
its efforts, in 1929 twenty-eight such openings 33 were made 
available to Negro workers. To these may be added the openings 
made available, directly or indirectly, through the Chicago Whip 

Other efforts of the Urban League in connection with this pro- 
gram are: 

1. Through conferences or talks to impress upon those already employed, 
their responsibility to their employer, both as a means of their own security 
and its relationship to other possible openings ; 

2. Attempts to place Negro workers in apprenticeship capacities, as a 
means of acquiring skill; and 

3. The establishment of training courses for certain lines of work. The 
class in salesmanship is an example of this effort. 

IV. Rent Levels Among Negroes in Chicago 

In the preceding section an attempt was made to canvass pre- 
vailing wage incomes for Negroes in certain occupational classi- 
fications. It was indicated that in these occupational classifica- 
tions men usually earn from $20 to $22.50 a week. The average 
earned by Negro females is $10 a week, when higher-level occu- 
pational classifications are excluded. This section will be de- 
voted to a canvass of the prevailing scale of rents operating among 
Negroes in Chicago. This will offer an opportunity of can- 
vassing the relation of income to rent, differences in the amount 
of rent, and differences in the physical condition of the houses 
rented by Negroes. 

The majority of the Negroes engaged in the occupational classi- 
fications noted in the preceding section live between Sixteenth 
Street on the north and Fifty-fifth Street on the south. Went- 
worth Avenue and the Lake, except south of Thirty-ninth Street, 

Refers to organizations and not number of persons placed. 


form the western and eastern boundary limits respectively. South 
of Thirty-ninth Street, Cottage Grove Avenue forms the eastern 
boundary line. This selection and segregation of Negroes is par- 
ticularly true of certain occupational classifications, notably that 
of stock yards work for the men and domestic service, day work, 
power-machine operation and stock yards work for the women. 
The majority of the female workers placed by the Chicago Urban 
League live between Thirty-first and Forty-eighth' Streets, with 
some overlapping as far south as Fifty-fifth Street. In any of 
the occupational classifications presented, some Negroes live be- 
yond the southern boundary limits outlined. However, the whole 
tone of Negro community life farther south is different. It is in 
the southern end of the "Black Belt" that Frazier found the 
processes of selection and segregation within the Negro group at 
the point of highest development. 34 As indicated earlier, our in- 
terest does not center in this group who presumably are able to 
choose the places in which they live with considerably more delib- 
eration than the lower-level income group. Primary considera- 
tion, then, will be devoted to those areas in which live the occu- 
pational groups heretofore canvassed. 

While this section is primarily concerned with the prevailing 
scale of rent paid by Negroes, consideration of rent alone is not 
enough. It must be remembered that in many instances the fe- 
male of the household augments the family income by working 
outside of the home. In other instances women, for various rea- 
sons, are the heads of homes and, with this responsibility, must 
work. Again, the practice of taking in roomers as an aid to meet 
the rent paid is characteristic of the Negro area. 35 

34 Frazier, E. Franklin, The Negro Family in Chicago, Chicago, Univer- 
sity of Chicago Press, 1932. In his study Mr. Frazier found that it was in 
the southern section of that vast stretch known as the "Black Belt" that 
Negro life reached its highest degree of community organization. Here live 
the majority of the professional group, the percentage of home ownership 
is higher, delinquency is less rampant, charity cases are fewer, desertion and 
divorce rates are lower, and the number of persons and families per house- 
hold less. Other indices as well were used in Frazier's thorough study. 

35 In this connection Charles W. Newcomb, University of Chicago, observes 
that Negroes fill up the large houses with roomers, whereas the foreign- 
born element fills up the houses with children. The economic advantages, 
then, in such cases are in favor of the Negro. The effects on morals and 
health, however, are probably as serious if not, indeed, worse. 


Scale of Rents for Different Areas 36 

There are marked differences in the scale of rents paid by 
Negroes in Chicago. Even within comparatively small areas these 
differences are decided. Several factors contribute to make this 
the case. The physical deterioration of a particular house, physical 
deterioration of the neighborhood, and lack of steam heat operate 
to make low rent. On the other hand a house in similar condition 
and in a similar neighborhood may rent at a comparatively high 
level. The occupancy of such a dwelling on the part of vice 
interests bootleggers, prostitutes, policy wheels, etc., may create 
a condition where high rents are the rule. The immunity from 
the law that these interests are able to secure in such neighbor- 
hoods often makes rents soar where otherwise there would be 
minimum rent levels. 

Twelfth to Thirty-ninth Streets, West of State Street. 
The strip of area west of State Street across the railroad tracks 
to Wentworth Avenue a strip four blocks in width and running 
from Twelfth Street on the north to Thirty-ninth Street on the 
south is an area characterized by the extreme of physical deteriora- 
tion. Families of extremely low economic level, cheap bootleg 
"joints," and prostitutes, present a medley of life of the lower 
strata. Practically all houses in this area are stove-heated. In 
most cases the type of dwelling is what may be described as the 
half-basement and upper-floor dwelling; i.e., a high basement is 
used as an apartment, and high steps lead to what ordinarily is the 
first floor, this too, being an apartment. The buildings are of 
frame construction and usually have four or five rooms to the 
house. The average rent paid in this area is $25 a month. The 
more dilapidated places rent for $20 a month and in extreme cases 
scale somewhat downward. The better quality of house rents from 
$30 to $32.50 a flat per month. 

In this area the number per family ranges from two to ten per- 
sons. In the upper limits of the area, children are fewer than in 

38 Data on rents embodied in this section were supplied from the following 
sources : ( 1 ) From the records of the Employment Secretary of the Chi- 
cago Urban League, including information gathered from personal investiga- 
tions in the homes of workers placed by the organization ; (2) data pertaining 
to family backgrounds of juvenile delinquents, series of 1929, secured from 
Juvenile Court records; and (3) reports of rent investigations from certain 
district offices of the United Charities of Chicago. 


cases farther south. Beginning approximately at Thirty-first 
Street and going south to Thirty-ninth Street there are usually 
five persons to a family. 

The lower limits of this area, from Thirty-third to Thirty-ninth 
Streets, have somewhat better houses than do the upper limits. 
There are a few brick places. The extremes of physical deteriora- 
tion are not so much in evidence as in some of the frame houses. 
Even of the latter group, some show recent painting and carpenter 
replacement work. Somewhat higher rents are paid here than 
farther north. Rentals here usually average in the upper limits of 
the scale previously indicated. 

Twelfth to Thirty-ninth Streets, East of State Street. 
East of State Street rents paid are somewhat higher than those 
in the area just discussed. Though deteriorated, houses are some- 
what better. Although there are many frame dwellings, brick and 
stone-front houses are the rule. Business has invaded the area 
at the upper end. Consequently, physical deterioration is greater 
than farther south. Although land values are high, incomes from 
rent are lower than elsewhere in the area. As far south as 
Twenty-sixth Street there are many stove-heated flats where rents 
average $37.50 a month. Even though houses are dilapidated, 
they are in demand because of accessibility to lines of transporta- 
tion or proximity to work, and rents are cheaper than farther 

On State Street between Twenty-sixth and Thirty-third Streets, 
second-floor apartments over retail stores rent for from $25 to 
$30 a month. Rear apartments in these flats rent somewhat 
cheaper. In contrast to these rentals, within the same north and 
south boundary limits but on South Parkway, rentals average $40 
a month. The houses here attest the decaying characteristics of 
the area but rentals maintain a comparatively high level because 
of being located on the boulevard. 

From Thirty-first to Thirty-ninth Street along State Street, 
practically all of the places are stove-heated apartments and are 
located over retail stores. Within this area $40 per month is the 
average rent paid. Frame dwellings on parallel and cross streets 
maintain virtually the same average rent. On Wabash Avenue, 
occasionally one finds a somewhat lower rent for stove-heated 
places. Even in such cases, however, rents rarely are under $37.50 
a month. On Wabash Avenue south of Thirty-third Street there 


are many brick and stone steam-heated apartments. Depending 
upon location and the type of place, rents range from $37.50 to 
$45 per month. The three prevailing prices paid for rent are 
$37.50, $40 and $45, the last being primarily for stone apart- 
ment buildings that are steam-heated. 

Going over one block east, on Michigan Avenue, and south 
from Thirty-third to Thirty-ninth Street, rentals are somewhat 
higher than on Wabash Avenue. Practically all of the places here 
are stone buildings with steam heat. This area was at one time 
an aristocratic section of the South Side. Although the houses are 
large, Negro families are able to pay high rents either because 
both husband and wife are working outside the home, or because 
they take in roomers. In some instances both methods are used. 
The prevailing rents paid here range from $50 upwards, depend- 
ing upon the size of the house or apartment. What is true of 
Michigan Avenue is to a considerable extent characteristic of 
housing conditions and rents paid on South Parkway between 
Thirty-third and Thirty-ninth Streets. 

On either side of South Parkway conditions change remark- 
ably. On Prairie, Calumet, Giles, Indiana and other streets many 
of the places are virtually as extreme in physical deterioration as 
those places west of State Street. Here and there, however, are 
the homes of those who have bought years ago and who still at- 
tempt to maintain the physical attractiveness of their homes. A 
block here and there shows evidence of an attempt to maintain a 
high community standard. The average rent paid in this area is 
$40 a month. On South Parkway, Vernon and Rhodes Streets 
live a group who are steadily employed at the stock yards. Of 
this group, an investigator 37 states, 

"Many of the families living in this area receive regular pay as a result 
of steady work in the stock yards, and as a result are able to pay $50 per 
month or more. Even for stove-heated places around Thirty-third Street, 
off of South Parkway, $35 a month is paid for rent." 

Thirty-ninth to Forty-seventh Streets. Rentals west of 
State Street, as was indicated for areas farther north, show a 
difference from those east of State. The physical condition of 
the houses, however, is considerably better than that of houses 

7 Based on home investigations in the area by H. N. Robinson, Employ- 
ment Secretary,, Chicago Urban League. 


farther north. Stove-heated houses usually rent for from $37.50 
a month to $40 a month. Steam-heated places in the area rent for 
as much as $55 to $57.50 a month. In this area, as was indicated 
for a specific area on South Parkway, live many of the men work- 
ing in the stock yards. The wives of many of these men work 
outside the home. Consequently they are able to pay regularly 
and to pay comparatively high rental prices. Although the physi- 
cal condition of many of the places in the area could show con- 
siderable improvement, an investigator reports a quality of fur- 
nishings in the home which is not consonant with outside appear- 
ances. Rentals along State Street over retail stores average ap- 
proximately the same as for places west of State. East of State 
Street there are several large business concerns located in the area. 
Except in cases of extreme physical deterioration located close to 
these establishments, rentals are virtually the same as those quoted 

Moving on east one finds higher rents than those farther west. 
On Michigan Avenue and South Parkway one again finds stone 
and brick, steam-heated apartments in excellent state of repair 
which rent for $60 a month and upwards. On Prairie Avenue, 
even as far south as Fifty-eighth Street, there are stone-front flats 
with rentals ranging from $65 to $85 a month, with an average 
rental of $70 a month. Here the rooms are large and airy. The 
houses in this area were at one time occupied by well-to-do white 

On Calumet Avenue between Forty-third and Forty-ninth 
Streets is an area that may be termed a red-light district. One 
walking along the street either day or night may be accosted by 
women and invited into houses of prostitution. Buffet flats are in 
considerable evidence. As one usually finds the rentals paid by 
vice interests scale higher than those for the normal, conventional 
population, rents in this particular area usually range from $75 
to $80 a month. 

Farther east than the area just canvassed, one finds a con- 
siderable variation in rent. On north and south streets one finds 
stove-heated flats for which the average monthly rent is $40. On 
the other hand, on most of the cross streets are large brick or 
stone flats for which the monthly rentals range from $55 to $65. 
On Fifty-first Street, east of South Parkway and facing the upper 
limits of Washington Park, are a series of brick apartment build- 


ings with high English basements. The average rental in this area 
is $70 a month. 

South of Fifty-first Street. South of Fifty-first Street there 
is not as much variation in the amount of rent paid as in areas 
thus far canvassed. This is due primarily to the quality of the 
apartments. Most of the places south of Fifty-first Street are 
steam-heated flats and for the most part are in excellent physical 
condition. Five- and six-room apartments are characteristic of 
the area. Although rents in some cases range as high as $70 or 
more a month, the prices paid for steam-heated apartments usually 
range from $55 to $65 a month. There are, of course, considera- 
ble variations within this range as to the price paid for particular 
flats, depending upon location, number of rooms and other fac- 
tors. The smaller places in the area those of four rooms rent 
for $50 and $55 a month. In some cases rentals for apartments 
of this size are as low as $45. 

In West Woodlawn, a community farther south (south of Sixty- 
third Street, South Parkway to Cottage Grove Avenue), there are 
both single- family dwellings and flats in the area. The rentals 
here, however, do not show wide variation from those somewhat 
farther north. The rents paid are virtually the same for places 
of the same size as in the area just canvassed. In recent months, 
due to the economic depression, rents here have been scaled some- 
what lower. In contrast to the range of $60 to $75 heretofore 
paid, rents have been scaled downward to a level from $47.50 to 
$65. Landlords have made this concession in an attempt to keep 
their places rented permanently. It must be remembered, how- 
ever, that this area is characterized by a rather high degree of 
home ownership. Here, the selection and segregation of the popu- 
lation show a high degree of development. This likewise is true 
to a lesser extent of the entire area south of Fifty-first Street. 
Mention was made earlier of this aspect of the area and of Fra- 
zier's findings pertaining to it. 38 

88 For an adequate discussion of the physical aspects of housing in the areas 
canvassed above see The Chicago Commission on Race Relations, The Negro 
in Chicago, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1922, Chapter on "The 
Negro Housing Problem." Here houses and apartment buildings are classi- 
fied, ranging from A to D types. It is especially to be noted that no such 
attempt has been made herein. Interest here centers primarily on prevailing 
rents paid within certain areas. It has, therefore, merely been noted whether 
or not the extreme of physical deterioration or lack of it characterizes the 


Kitchenette Apartments 

Any discussion of rentals would be incomplete if some consid- 
eration were not devoted to the kitchenette apartments. The 
tendency to break up large apartments into kitchenette apartments 
has been especially marked in the Negro area within the past two 
years. In some blocks this tendency is especially pronounced. In- 
deed, there are blocks where, almost without exception, every flat 
has been transformed into kitchenette apartments. Poor sanita- 
tion arising out of the kitchenette apartment is an evil in housing 
that the Negro population must face. Usually kitchenette apart- 
ments in the Negro area are not designed primarily for that use. 
For the most part they are merely makeshift, small apartments 
designed to increase the income of the landlord on the one hand 
and to provide what presumably are cheaper rents for Negroes 
on the other hand. The average price paid for such places, how- 
ever, is really considerably more exorbitant than is usually as- 
sumed. This is especially true when one considers the compara- 
tive lack of privacy to be found in kitchenette apartments. 

In a recent survey of kitchenette apartments, Miss Tenon sg 
found wide variations in the physical standards of kitchenette 
apartments and in the amount of rent paid by whites and Negroes. 
A block of kitchenette apartments on South Parkway may be re- 
garded as an excellent sample if, indeed, not typical of this 
type of dwelling for Negroes. Flats have been cut up into small 
apartments. Bath and toilet facilities are used in common on each 
floor. Beaver-board partitions are often used to create apart- 
ments. In most instances a clothes closet has been transformed 
into a kitchen, while a former parlor or living-room forms the 
sleeping and living quarters. In contrast to the physical aspects of 
kitchenette apartments in the Negro neighborhoods, those on 
Drexel Boulevard offer an excellent sample of such apartments 
among whites. While kitchenette apartments occupied by whites 
are not always so designed for that use prior to construction, 
nevertheless the physical aspects generally are more wholesome 
than those available to Negroes. The salient differences may be 

39 Based on a survey of kitchenette apartment areas among Negroes on 
South Parkway and among whites on Drexel Boulevard, made during the 
summer of 1931 for the Group on Physical Aspects of Negro Housing 
of the Committee on Negro Housing. See Appendix VII, "The Kitchenette 
Apartment," p. 258. 


summed up as follows: The apartments for whites are trans- 
formed into kitchenettes so as to allow natural light and air, and 
privacy ; there are toilet facilities and running water in each apart- 
ment; and, in contrast to the Negro area, clothes closets are not 
used as kitchens. These physical differences obviously suggest 
wide differences in the design, arrangements, and conditions gen- 
erally conducive to health or lack of it in kitchenette apartments. 
In exchange for a place to sleep, inadequate cooking facilities 
and crowded conditions, Negroes in kitchenette apartments pay 
more than do whites for even better apartments. As to rents Miss 
Tenon says, 

"The highest rent paid on Drexel Boulevard for an apartment was $12.50, 
while the highest amount paid on South Parkway was $15 a week. These 
apartments were comparable in accommodations. However, those on Drexel 
Boulevard, for this maximum amount, also offered maid and janitor service. 
The average rental per week per apartment on Drexel Boulevard was $7.15 
while the average rental on South Parkway was $8.75 a week." * 

The foregoing materials suggest that when differences in rental 
prices are coupled with differences in physical standards and other 
services Negroes pay an exorbitant price for kitchenette apart- 

One can only guess at the menace to health that the kitchenette 
apartment creates. Sound judgment, however, obviously suggests 
that two to four hundred people cannot be housed in a small area 
devoid of adequate sanitary conditions, light and air, without 
serious jeopardy to health. Of the effects on morals one can speak 
with somewhat more assurance. Common use of bath and toilet 
facilities by men, women and children unquestionably lowers the 
moral tone of those thus exposed. It is significant to note that a 
woman probation officer of the Cook County Juvenile Court re- 
ports a marked increase in the number of sex delinquency cases 
among Negro girls arising out of situations in kitchenette apart- 
ments. Following observation of this fact, one hundred cases 
were canvassed of girls charged with sex delinquency. It was 
found that in 72 per cent of these cases the delinquent act occurred 
in a kitchenette apartment. All of the girls did not live in kitchen- 
ette apartments. Those who did not live in this type apartment 
habitually visited them. The average age was fourteen years and 

See Appendix VII, "The Kitchenette Apartment," p. 258. 


six months for this group of girls. The remaining 28 per cent 
(of the 100 cases) were cases in which the sex delinquent act oc- 
curred in a situation totally divorced from kitchenette apartments. 41 

Dependent Families and Rent 

The rent paid for dependent Negro families in Chicago rarely 
ever exceeds $25 a month. It is the policy of the United Charities 
in sponsoring payment of rent for dependent families not to ex- 
ceed this amount. Indeed, in many instances, the actual amount 
budgeted for rent is considerably below this figure, scaling down- 
ward as low as $6 and $8 a month. Cases that exceed the $25 
maximum are for families located in the west side districts close 
to white areas where rentals are somewhat higher. 42 

In cases coming to the attention of the charities, where the 
families live in houses or apartments renting for above $25 a 
month, the family is generally required to move into a place with 
lower rent. On the other hand, there are numerous instances 
where the family may or may not appeal to the charities for aid 
and where the landlord permits them to remain in better dwellings 
merely to keep the dwellings occupied. Danger of marauders 
seeking to remove the plumbing and other fixtures of the house 
when vacant, causes landlords to make this concession. However, 
landlords sometimes complain that during periods of economic 
distress some families injure the houses. One landlord cites an 
instance where a family tore away the mantel piece and used it for 
firewood. In cases where families do injure the buildings, land- 
lords prefer that they move, foregoing even the rent sponsored by 
the relief agency. 

Rents and Delinquency 

It is generally assumed that delinquency has a direct relation- 
ship with low economic status and that along with this, low rents 
prevail. On the basis of this assumption it would be expected that 
virtually all of the families in which there are delinquents would 
be found in the lowest economic level and in the lowest scale of 

41 Information secured from Mrs. Patricia Clark, Juvenile Probation Offi- 
cer, Cook County Juvenile Court. 

42 Based on "data secured from district offices, United Charities, and from 
a personal interview with Mrs. Lillian Summers, District Superintendent. 


rent. In a canvass of Negro families in which there are delinquent 
children (series of 1929), this assumption was not found to be 
absolutely valid, although there seemed to be a relationship with 
those bordering on the lower levels of income and rent. 

It has been previously noted that the incomes of families in 
which there were delinquents were approximately the same as for 
the lower-level occupational classifications. In the matter of rents 
paid, a corresponding situation prevails. It should be noted, how- 
ever, that the mere fact of high rent does not necessarily indicate 
a high quality of house and a desirable neighborhood. On the 
contrary, it is sometimes merely a large dwelling in an area 
characterized by delinquency, the rent of which is met by the addi- 
tion of roomers to the regular family household. In many in- 
stances the amount of rent paid was not indicated in the court 
records. However, based on other data in the individual case 
records of this group, it seems safe to assume that the cases in 
which the data were given form a reliable sample. Of 326 fami- 
lies where the rent was indicated, the median rental was $29.90 a 
month. It should be noted, however, that the greatest frequencies 
in the amount of rent paid were $20 and $25 a month. Home 
ownership among the Negro delinquent group was decidedly low. 
Home ownership among white families in which there are delin- 
quents is considerably greater. This may be explained, however, 
largely in terms of the longer length of residence in the county by 
white families in which there are delinquents. In contrast to the 
average length of time in the county of approximately six years 
for the Negro group, white families average fifteen years. 

Certainly the largest number of frequencies of even the median 
rental paid by Negro families in this group is not high enough to 
afford residence in desirable homes or in desirable residential areas. 
The rental averages are comparable to rents paid for stove-heated 
places and dwellings in a state of physical deterioration. This is 
exactly what is true of the delinquent group living in the most 
deteriorated areas of Chicago. On the other hand, a considerable 
number live in an area of steam-heated apartments and in houses 
in better physical condition. Even here, however, the physical 
deterioration shows a lowering of community standards, and ex- 
cept for counteracting influences it is only a question of time before 
these places, too, will show considerably more deterioration. The 
foregoing of course does not apply without some variations to 


those cases of delinquency that have crept into the more desirable 
Negro residential areas. 

Some may be inclined to accept low-level incomes and low rents 
as the total explanation of delinquency. The economic situation 
is, certainly, a potent factor in the maladjustment involved in such 
families. However, in the light of recent intensive research in 
this field it is desirable to consider these factors as they relate to 
areas of the city characterized by delinquency. 43 It is into areas 
characterized by physical deterioration and community disorganiza- 
tion that the newcomer tends to settle as a means of securing a 
foothold. It is in these areas that community behavior patterns 
conflict with family standards of behavior. Out of the total sit- 
uation emerges the delinquent individual. 

Attention will next be devoted to specific areas of Negro settle- 
ment in Chicago. The materials heretofore discussed probably 
suggest wide differences in these areas. The significance of some 
of these differences and the dynamic character of these areas are 
the focal points of the following discussion. 

V. Zones of Negro Settlement 
The "Black Belt" 

The majority of Chicago's Negro population lives in an area 
south of the Loop which is approximately seven miles in length 
and from a mile to a mile and a half in width. This area of con- 
centrated Negro population is popularly called the "Black Belt." 
Contrary to popular impressions the "Belt" is not a homogeneous 
area ; it is, in fact, an area of marked contrasts. Within the larger 
area of the "Belt" there are smaller areas characterized by vice, 
desertion, delinquency, the homeless man, etc. In contrast there 
are areas which are characterized by home ownership, high-level 
occupational groupings, etc. ; in short, high degree community 

This brief introduction suggests the dynamic character of Negro 
areas of settlement. This section has for its task the consideration 

"This statement refers to (1) the work of Clifford R. Shaw of the In- 
stitute for Juvenile Research, Chicago ; (2) the distribution and extent of 
juvenile delinquency used as index in Frazier's study, op. cit.; and (3) an 
intensive research study of juvenile delinquency among Negroes in Chicago 
by the writer. 


of the dynamic character of the "Black Belt," with especial con- 
sideration devoted to delinquency, and prevailing incomes and rents 
among families in which there are delinquent children. The ma- 
terials of this section will be considered in terms of zones of 
settlement. 44 

Twelfth Street Zone. 45 As early as the beginning of the 
century Negroes lived in the Twelfth Street zone. More Negroes, 
however, lived in the area during the first two decades than live 
there at present. The deterioration in the neighborhood was in 
evidence prior to the World War migration period. Houses of 
prostitution and other vice resorts had invaded the area. Later, 
migrants from the South settled there, pushing the older residents 
farther out. With these population changes also came changes in 
the extent of delinquency. In general, Negro delinquency in the 
area has fluctuated, with a definite tendency toward decrease. The 
decrease is attributable largely to the invasion of the area by busi- 
ness and the pushing of Negroes farther out, plus an additional 
reclaiming of the area by whites who have moved into what dwell- 
ings remain, seeking cheaper rents. 

The decrease in delinquency is shown in that in the Juvenile 
Court Series of 1900-06, the square mile area rates were 17.3 per 
cent and 29.1 per cent respectively from the western part of the 
zone going toward the lake. In 1917-23 the respective square mile 
area rates were 13.3 per cent and 19.4 per cent. 46 The actual num- 
bers of Negro delinquents in the area show a trend toward de- 
creasing. In the 1900-06 Juvenile Court Series there were sixteen 
male Negro delinquents; in the 1917-23 Juvenile Court Series 
there were three male Negro delinquents. In the 1929 Juvenile 
Court Series there were five male Negro delinquents. Of the lat- 

44 The zone classification used herein was originated and used by E. 
Franklin Frazier, op. cit. 

46 It was earlier anticipated that a thorough-going and intensive analysis 
of the small unit areas would be made, especially in the light of inherent 
characteristics of the area, which in turn reflect community norms of be- 
havior and the degree of community organization. The limited time allowed 
for the completion of this paper necessitated a change of emphasis and of 
content, however, so that, instead, an attempt was made merely to indicate 
some of the salient characteristics of areas, primarily from a lay point of 

40 Shaw, Clifford R., et al., Delinquency Areas, Chicago, University of 
Chicago Press, 1929, pp. 96 and 89. 


ter group, recidivists outnumbered first offenders. This fact lends 
added evidence to the decrease in delinquency, inasmuch as new 
recruits in crime were not in evidence. 

Inasmuch as there are no Negro institutions in this zone around 
which community life may be organized, there is nothing there 
especially to attract or hold the Negro population. When move- 
ment takes place it is usually beyond the limits of the southern 
boundary. This suggests that those Negroes living there do so 
because of low income and the chance for cheap rent. Of five 
Negro delinquents in the area, the fathers of three either had no 
income or at least no income was recorded for them in the records 
of the Juvenile Court. 47 One earned only $20 a week while an- 
other earned $25. Only one mother of these delinquents had an 
income. She earned $15 a week. That the income level was low 
is revealed in the occupational classification of the fathers of these 
same delinquents. One was listed as having no occupation, two 
were laborers, and two were in small businesses. As to the occupa- 
tion of the mothers, one was not listed, two were housewives, while 
two were working out one in laundry work, the other in factory 
work. In the cases of families of female delinquents in this zone, 
the record of earnings of neither father nor mother was given in 
the court records. The one case giving the occupation of the 
father recorded him as a laborer, while two mothers were classified 
as in domestic service. These occupational ratings rather suggest 
the low-income level of the parents of delinquents in the area. 

The rents paid by these families showed rather wide variation. 
However, the majority of them paid about the same. The follow- 
ing information is based on the records of families of both male 
and female Negro delinquents. Two cases did not record the rent 
paid. One family paid $9 a month, two families $20 a month, three 
families $25 a month, one family $50 and one $80 a month. This 
level of rents suggests that the houses in which the families lived 
would not indicate high-income levels, and by inference suggests 

47 Caution must be exercised in drawing conclusions relative to income and 
rent in the small area on a basis of data presented pertaining to the delin- 
quent group. The comparatively negligible number of cases, especially in 
certain areas, adds to the need for caution. The data presented are primarily 
for the purpose of showing how data for the entire delinquent group are 
distributed in small area units. A clearer picture of income and rent levels 
among families in which there are delinquents has been presented in preceding 
sections of this appendix. 


the quality of the house. However, one other aspect might be 
considered here; that is, that the average number of rooms oc- 
cupied was approximately three per family. The actual distribu- 
tion was as follows: Two families occupied two rooms; one 
family occupied three rooms; four families, four rooms; and one 
family, seven rooms. The average number of persons per house- 
hold living in these houses was 3.3. The nature of delinquencies 
of male Negro delinquents in this area falls into three groups: 
Two, assault with deadly weapon and robbery, two were burglary, 
and one was stealing money. The female delinquents fall into two 
categories : One was an habitual truant from home and four were 
behavior problem cases. In spite of the fact that the area bordered 
on an area of prostitution, only one of the female delinquents was 
classed in the social type of sex delinquent. Two were delinquent 
because of conditions within the home and one through association 
with a gang. Male delinquents were either of the gang type or 
the malicious and bully type, with one delinquent as a direct result 
of conditions within the home. 

Twenty-second Street Zone. The Twenty-second Street 
zone embraces the area from Twenty-second Street to Thirty-sec- 
ond Street and from Wentworth Avenue to the lake. While there 
are differences within the area, there are several marked character- 
istics of the area when considered as a unit. In so far as Chicago 
has a decidedly Negro homeless man area, it runs along State 
Street centering around Thirty-first. Cheap hotels, flop houses, 
and cheap restaurants afford these unattached men places to sleep 
and eat at a minimum cost. It is in this area that the Wabash 
Lodge for the relief of unattached men was established during 
the past winter. The homeless men may also be found eastward on 
Thirty-first and around the intersection at Indiana Avenue. One 
may be accosted at almost any hour of the day or night by drunken 
men begging the "price of a cup of coffee" or a cigarette. Several 
habitual beggars are to be seen at Thirty-first and State Streets. 

The second characteristic of the area is the potential viciousness 
centering along Thirty-first Street. Just east of State is a cheap 
hotel reputed to be the hangout of prostitutes and pimps. It is 
certainly established that most of the men living in the hotel do not 
follow a regular occupation ; indeed, most of them do no work at 
all. It was here that several years ago a gang of habitual auto- 
mobile thieves lived. Farther east are several reputed black and 


tan cabarets of questionable character. Female impersonators 
bearing the names of outstanding movie stars are the source of 

The third characteristic of this zone is the excess of adults over 
children. Although there are families in which there are children, 
in proportion to the total population they are relatively few. 

During the World War migration period this area was second 
only to Thirty-fifth Street in the degree of popularity among 
Negroes. As the population pushed farther southward the area 
lost prestige and in turn showed decided deterioration. Towards 
its upper limits business has invaded the area, especially along 
State Street, Michigan Avenue and South Parkway. Business 
invasion along South Parkway has tended to reclaim the area from 
houses that were almost the extreme in physical deterioration to 
modern commercial establishments. 

Rents in this area have been previously discussed. Attention, 
however, will be given briefly to the distribution of rents paid by 
families in which there are delinquents. The prevailing rents paid 
by twenty- four families in which there are Negro male delin- 
quents are under $30 a month. Nineteen of the twenty-four cases 
fall within this group, scaling downward as low as $7 a month. 
The highest rent paid falls within the $40 to $50 interval, being 
paid by only two families. 

Most of the families in which there are delinquents in this area 
are housed in apartments over stores. Comparatively few of the 
apartments have less than four rooms. Most of the families live 
on the second and third floors with a few occupying apartments 
located higher up or in the basement. 

Thirty-second Street Zone. The Thirty-second Street zone 
extends southward as far as Thirty-ninth Street with the same 
east and west boundaries as indicated in the zone above. The 
marked characteristics of this area are: First, the decadence of 
the area as the center of life among the Negro population of Chi- 
cago ; second, the decadence as the business center of Negro life ; 
third, the prevalence of forms of vice especially policy wheels, 
bootlegging, and delinquency ; and fourth, the change in the char- 
acter of the population. 

At the height of the initial influx of Negroes into Chicago, 
Thirty-fifth and State Streets were the center of Negro life. It 
was said, with a marked degree of truth, that during that period 


any Negro standing at the intersection of these two streets would, 
within the course of a few days, be sure to see any friend who lived 
in Chicago. Not only did businesses owned by Negroes flourish 
in this area but Thirty-fifth Street was in addition the center of 
the night life. Some established businesses still remain in the area. 
Notable among the latter are an insurance company, a Negro 
weekly newspaper, and the Overton banking and manufacturing 
interests. With the expansion of the "Black Belt" southward, 
the glamour that previously characterized Thirty-fifth Street has 
become almost negligible. Although there are signs of business 
activity during daylight hours, one is much impressed with the fact 
that the street is practically deserted at night, which is in contrast 
to the heyday of its career. 

Although cabarets and dancing schools were prevalent in the 
area during the period of the heavy influx of Negroes, they were 
expressions peculiar to the time and were an index to the emanci- 
pation of Negroes from social controls in their new environment. 
In contrast, the vice of today which characterizes the area is more 
subtle in form, though perhaps more far-reaching in effects. The 
more prevalent forms of vice are the policy wheels, whose head- 
quarters are in the area, the numbers of policy writers and of 
bootleg flats. These vices are the expression of loose forms of life 
in the area. Along with community disorganization there has been 
a decided increase in delinquency among Negroes. 

The rent paid by families in which there are delinquents aver- 
ages $30 a month. No exact statement can be made as to income 
levels because of the number of cases in this zone for which data 
were not available. However, income levels probably were low 
inasmuch as, of those cases for which data were recorded, "com- 
mon laborer" was the prevailing occupational classification. 

Thirty-ninth Street Zone. It is in the Thirty-ninth Street 
zone that a larger group of Negro delinquents is found than in 
any other settlement zone among Negroes. Inasmuch as popula- 
tion data are not available it cannot, however, be stated with 
absolute accuracy that this is the most delinquent settlement zone. 
Comparisons on a basis of the same age and sex distribution are 
necessary for accurate determination. However, the extent of 
delinquency attests the individual and community processes of 
disorganization and reorganization. Case history documents of 


delinquents reveal the emancipation of the children from former 
family controls. 

The wide range of rents paid by families in which there are 
delinquents may be explained on the basis of the distribution of 
such families within the zone. Attention was earlier called to the 
fact that rents west of State Street were somewhat higher than 
those east of State, especially on Michigan Avenue and South 
Parkway. The range in rents, then, varies probably on a basis 
of the distribution of families in which there are delinquents 
throughout this zone. The result is that there is a wide range 
extending from families that pay as little as $10 a month to those 
who are paying upwards of $70 a month. In the low levels of 
rent the predominant price paid is $25 a month. In the higher 
brackets there is a comparatively even distribution ranging from 
$30 to $50 a month. 

The occupational classification of the parents of delinquents in 
this zone reveals that "common labor" for the men and domestic 
service for the women are by far the two outstanding types of work. 
It should be noted, however, in passing, that the number of mothers 
classed as housewives exceeds that of any other zone. Almost 50 
per cent of the fathers are classed as "common laborers." Slightly 
more than 25 per cent of the mothers were in domestic service. 
Although the total number of cases was high for which earnings 
were recorded in the court records, it should be noted that families 
in this zone earned within the higher-limit average of the occupa- 
tion in which they fall. For the cases recorded, most of the men 
earn more than $25 a week while the mothers earn between $10 
and $15. 

The materials presented pertaining to families in which there are 
Negro male delinquents are true likewise for families in which 
there are Negro female delinquents. This is particularly true of 
the occupational classifications of the parents and of their income 

Forty-seventh Street Zone. The Forty-seventh Street zone 
presents a strange medley of Negro life comparable to, yet far ex- 
ceeding, that which characterized the Thirty-fifth Street area dur- 
ing the period of influx of Negroes into Chicago. This medley 
reveals itself in the marked contrast of conditions along State 
Street and west of it when compared to conditions around South 
Parkway, West of State Street, going toward the railroad tracks, 


one finds an area of physical deterioration and considerable vice 
and crime. Here and there are bright spots within the area which 
reveal efforts to conserve community life. 

Around South Parkway and Forty-seventh Street centers to a 
marked degree the business and professional life of the Negro 
group. Within this zone community life is reflected in that strong 
community institutions, notably churches, are located here. These, 
however, are in contrast to the sporting element found here and 
there. Community life reflects itself likewise in the rather excel- 
lent physical care of houses. There are indications of a degree of 
selection of the population. Selection within families in which 
there are delinquents asserts itself in this area as in selection within 
the normal population. This selection reflects itself especially in 
the amount of rent paid. The number of such families paying be- 
low $30 rent is comparatively negligible. In contrast, almost 75 
per cent of the families for which rents are recorded pay $35 a 
month and upwards. The largest single group within the range 
table consists of fourteen families paying $70 and upwards a 

Fifty-fifth Street Zone. The selection and segregation of 
population within this zone reveal a somewhat higher degree of 
community life. However, it should be noted that although the 
actual numbers of delinquents and percentage of delinquency 
within the area are marked, delinquency is, nevertheless, on the 
increase. Community disorganization reflects itself somewhat in 
the small gangs of petty marauders that hang around business 
corners. As was indicated in the Forty-seventh Street zone, the 
selection within the delinquent group reflects itself in the amount 
of rent paid by families in which there are delinquents. Most of 
the families within the area pay $35 and upwards, with a marked 
grouping in the $70 interval and upwards. 

Sixty-seventh Street Zone. The Sixty-seventh Street zone 
embraces the community of West Woodlawn. It is in this area 
that reference has been frequently made in previous materials to 
the high degree of community organization and selection and 
segregation within the Negro population. The degree of home 
ownership alone is an index of community life. On the other 
hand, recent movements into the area by those farther north re- 


fleet processes of deterioration. This movement has been attrib- 
uted largely to the pressure that has been brought to bear on vice 
forces located within the Thirty-second Street zone. In an effort 
to escape the raids of police these interests have skipped over inter- 
vening zones of settlement and migrated to the West Woodlawn 
area. However, a counteracting force is in evidence in an effort 
to conserve community standards. The more alert leadership of 
the community has a well-functioning community association 
which is attempting to combat elements making for deterioration 
within the community. These efforts, to an extent, have been 

The number of delinquents within this area is negligible. For 
the Juvenile Court Series of 1929 there was only one Negro male 
and no female delinquents. Although there are many childre.n in 
the area, potent forms of family and social control are in evidence 
in the negligible number of delinquents. The attitude of the com- 
munity toward delinquency is reflected in the statement of a woman 
civic leader. On one occasion she remarked : 

"Those children who are delinquents out in this area are all children who 
were delinquents before they moved into the area, and after they have been 
here they tend to be no longer delinquent." 

While the one case listed in the 1929 Series is not an absolute 
index to the extent of delinquency in the light of other years, it 
does reflect, to a marked extent, the degree of community organi- 
zation and community attitude which are not conducive to the 
existence of delinquency. Indeed, a check of individual delinquent 
cases within the area subsequent to the 1929 Series shows the 
quotation above to be remarkably accurate. 

The Near West Side 

Negro invasion of the Near West Side community 48 has not 
taken place at an even pace. Toward the northern boundary 
limits, along Lake Street, a pioneer group of Negroes some years 

48 The Near West Side refers to a local community in Chicago whose 
sociological history has been worked out by the Local Community Research 
Committee of the University of Chicago. The boundary limits of the com- 
munity extend from Kinzie Street on the north to Sixteenth Street on the 
south; from the Pennsylvania railroad tracks on the west to the Chicago 
River on the east. 


ago established themselves. This group tended to show a selection 
comparable to that at present in existence within the southern 
boundary limits of the "Black Belt." With the growth of the 
Negro population these pioneer efforts have been somewhat over- 
come, with the result that this area now shows a marked degree of 
deterioration. This deterioration, however, is not exclusively at- 
tributed to the influx of migrants but rather to the natural history 
of a community involved in the growth of the city. The invasion of 
Negroes within the southern boundary limits, centering in the 
Maxwell Street area, is decidedly in contrast to the early invasion 
along Lake Street. In the Maxwell Street area one finds the new 
migrants from the South who have displaced to a remarkable ex- 
tent the Jewish population that formerly lived in the area. Within 
this area one notes on every hand the extremes of physical de- 
terioration, low-income levels, low rents, poverty, vice and crime. 
In-short, it is a community of extremely low-degree organization. 

In view of the differences within the larger community, con- 
sideration of the Near West Side area will be divided into ( 1 ) the 
Lake Street Area; and (2) the Maxwell Street Area. 

Lake Street Area. Reference has been made in the preceding 
paragraph to the pioneer settlement of Negroes along Lake Street. 
In recent years this Negro settlement has had a decided increase 
in population. The selection of the population reveals an aver- 
age type more stable than those in the Maxwell Street district. 
However, the invasion of business in the area is reflected in phys- 
ical deterioration, and consequently, community disorganization. 
Some semblance of community life, however, is in evidence in the 
church institutions located in the area. 

Houses within this area are cheaper than those found on the 
South Side except, perhaps, those in the northern end of the 
"Black Belt." Although rents in this area and rents in the northern 
end of the "Black Belt" are comparable, the degree of physical 
deterioration is not as marked on the West Side as in the northern 
end of the "Belt." In spite of the invasion of business and sub- 
sequent community deterioration, the Negro population of the area 
remains a rather stable group. Evidence of this is to be seen in 
the lack of mobility within the delinquent group, which is in 
marked contrast to the Maxwell Street area. 

Statistical data relating to the number of delinquents in the area 
show a steady increase in recent years. In earlier years delin- 


quency within the area was primarily within the non white group. 
With the increase of Negroes the latter group has increasingly 
displaced the non white delinquent group, so that in the Juvenile 
Court Series of 1929 there was a total of twenty-three Negro 
male delinquents in the area. This number composed 85.1 per cent 
of the total male delinquents in the area. It should be noted, how- 
ever, that in surrounding areas there was a preponderance of white 

Negro families in which there were delinquents usually paid 
under $30 a month rent. Indeed the highest frequency distribution 
was to be found within the $20 to $25 interval. This substantiates 
the statement made previously relative to the fact that rentals 
within the area were comparable to those at the northern end of the 
"Belt," yet afford a better type of residence than is secured for 
the same rent on the South Side. Most of the Negro men living 
in the area are engaged in semi-skilled and unskilled work in 
nearby factories. The majority of the fathers of Negro delin- 
quents are classed as "common laborers." Their earnings average 
approximately $30 a week. 49 

Maxwell Street Area. It has been within the last decade that 
Negroes have to a marked extent invaded the southern end of the 
Near West Side community the Maxwell Street area. However, 
before 1920, Negro invasion of the area had started. This early 
infiltration was rather negligible as to numbers and was for the 
most part composed of the drift of the population from farther 
north and of early migrants from the South. In either event, 
the search was for cheap rents. The rapid increase in the Negro 
population in the area was due to its proximity to railroad yards 
where early migrants settled, to the colonization of the migrants, 
and to the search for cheap rents. It is the opinion of well-in- 
formed residents of the area that the majority of the present 
Negro population found in the area are comparatively newly 
arrived migrants from the South. One resident of the community 
described the Negro population in part as follows : 

"Most of them have just come up from the South. You can almost always 
tell them. The first winter that they are here you see them going down 
the street with heavy underwear showing through their woolen stockings 
and all bundled up. Then the next year you see them with their silk stock- 
ings and low-cut shoes on. . . ." 

Attention is called to footnote 30, p. 171. 


Delinquency was decidedly prevalent in the area prior to the 
invasion of Negroes. The Jewish group composed the largest 
proportion of delinquents. Before 1920 only one Negro delin- 
quent is recorded as coming from that area. With the change in 
racial composition, however, the numbers of delinquents coming 
from the Negro group have steadily risen, so that within a decade 
the number of Negro delinquents has increased to forty-six Negro 
male delinquents in the area. The proportion to the total delin- 
quents in the area, however, is not as marked as in the Lake Street 
area. This is due to the rather cosmopolitan racial composition 
of the area. The forty-six delinquents in 1929 composed 56.1 
per cent of the total male delinquents in the area. On the other 
hand, there were twenty-three Negro female delinquents in the 
area in 1929 in contrast to only five white female delinquents. 
Thus Negro females composed 82.1 per cent of the female delin- 
quents in the area. 

The mobility of Negro families in which there are delinquents 
reflects the degree of mobility of the Negro population in the 
area. A resident of the area describes the mobility of the general 
population as follows : 

"They don't keep up the property. They would just as soon cut down 
fences or tear a board off the side of the house for firewood . . . Instead 
of trying to keep up the property they simply tear up the houses, then move 
on to some other one. Most of the time they simply move right across the 
street, or from one street over to the next." 

The prevailing low rents paid by Negroes within this area are 
reflected to a marked extent in the Negro families in which there 
are delinquents. Virtually all of such families paid under $30 
rent, with an average of approximately $25. Likewise, earnings 
are primarily under $30 a week. The low level of economic in- 
come is, however, expected in view of the preponderance of "com- 
mon laborers" that live within the area. The numbers of fathers 
of delinquents so classified, rank second for all Negro areas of 
settlement. In proportion to the total numbers they actually rank 

It is recognized that these materials regarding zones of Negro 
settlement do not present a thorough-going analysis of inherent 
characteristics of such zones in Chicago. 50 It is hoped, never- 

60 Attention is called to footnote 44, p. 184. 


theless, that at least salient differences that exist between settle- 
ment zones were indicated. There are, to be sure, other small unit 
areas that could be canvassed. Our effort, however, has centered 
on those areas in which delinquency is prevalent and, by way of 
contrast, several zones that have a negligible amount of delin- 

VI. Findings and Tentative Conclusions 

In any attempt to generalize about economic and social malad- 
justment, one must first of all recognize that an individual is the 
product of his total cultural situation. This is especially true of 
maladjustment exhibited in the form of delinquency. No one 
factor, then, may be isolated and indelibly marked as the causal 
factor of maladjustment per se. Instead, it is desirable to study 
the individual in relation to the total situation. It is true, never- 
theless, that one or more factors may have considerably more 
weight than others. 

The increase in juvenile delinquency among Negroes in Chicago 
shows the same sequential development as that for any racial or 
nationality group. 51 The rise, ascendancy and subsequent ebb of 
delinquency has had its counterpart, historically, in immigrant 
groups that have come into Chicago. The Poles- and Italians, in 
this connection, are examples par excellence. Delinquency among 
Negroes is rapidly reaching the point of ascendance indeed, if it 
is not at that point now. The subsequent ebb, in the course of time, 
will register itself clearly. The acceleration of a decrease in delin- 
quency depends, ( 1 ) largely upon the rapidity with which Negroes 
are able to effect cultural adjustment in their comparatively new 
environment; and (2) upon whether or not they are displaced 
from their status of newcomers by some other group. Wholesale 
immigration, for example, would accelerate the latter process. 52 

The problem of delinquency is best understood in terms of 
differences in areas rather than merely in terms of income and rent 

51 This statement is based not only upon the materials embodied in this 
paper but also upon an intensive study, by the writer, of juvenile delinquency 
among Negroes in Chicago. 

52 It should IDC clearly understood that this paper does not advocate whole- 
sale immigration. The statement is merely a prediction of probable results, 
on a basis of intensive studies, in the event of wholesale immigration in- 
volving the displacement of Negroes from their present low-level status, 
This displacing is characteristic of all newcomer groups. 


levels. The processes of selection and segregation tend to link up 
decidedly these latter aspects with inherent differences in areas. 
Families in which there are delinquents tend to reside in areas of 
deterioration as a means of securing a foothold. These families 
are primarily newcomers. It is in these areas that delinquency is 
prevalent. Delinquency arises out of neighborhood situations, 
community norms of behavior, conflict between family and com- 
munity standards and controls, and the emancipation of the in- 
dividual from family norms of behavior. Placed in a new situa- 
tion, parents, in order to "get a start," are forced to a minimum 
level in areas of deterioration. There is, at first, a status which 
naturally comes from being a newcomer a combination of in- 
difference and contempt on the part of those who are higher up the 
scale. The low status of the newcomer is the outgrowth of low 
occupational work, low-income levels and residence in areas of de- 
terioration. The increase of delinquency, then, among Negroes is 
due to their segregation into such areas. In these areas, which are 
on the fringe of commercial and industrial centers, community 
norms of behavior vary considerably from conventional standards. 
It is not intended to suggest that all Negroes, even among the 
newly arrived, reside in areas of deterioration. This refers 
primarily to those of that group who, without economic and in- 
tellectual resources, inevitably fall into this situation. On the 
other hand, it must be noted that the Negro population shows the 
same processes of selection and segregation that operate within 
any population. 53 Further, this selection and segregation show 
communities within Negro areas that are characterized by in- 
dividual and community disorganization, in contrast to other areas 
of high-degree organization. These areas, in turn, link up with 
occupational and income levels within the Negro population. An 
example of this is evident in the placements made by the Chicago 
Urban League in 1930 (Table V) in which the lower-level occupa- 
tional groups came primarily from those areas toward the northern 
end of the "Black Belt." 5 * Frazier, on the other hand, discovered 

63 Based on Frazier's findings, op. cit. Corroborated on a basis of distribu- 
tion, extent, and concentration of delinquency among Negroes in Chicago in 
the writer's study of juvenile delinquency among Negroes in Chicago. 

M The occupational distribution among Negroes in Chicago has received a 
thorough-going and scientific analysis by E. Franklin Frazier, The Amer- 
ican Journal of Sociology, March, 1930, Vol. 35, No. 5. 


higher-level occupational groupings toward the southern end of 
the "Belt." 

The assumption that low-income levels are the primary cause 
of delinquency does not seem to be absolutely valid. While income 
levels unquestionably play an important part in social maladjust- 
ment, they must, as they relate to delinquency, be linked up with 
those areas of the city whose norms of behavior are especially con- 
ducive to delinquency. Income levels, then, are a causal factor 
in so far as competition tends to press families into areas of de- 

Individual disorganization, which reflects itself in delinquency, 
is the result of the emancipation from former controls on the part 
of the migrant. As reorganization takes place delinquency will 
show a marked decrease. Reorganization may be accelerated 
through higher-income levels which in turn will afford opportunity 
for movement to higher-level communities. On the other hand, 
when industrial conditions reach intensive production levels, neces- 
sitating new migrants, the sequence will be repeated whether or 
not the same or a different racial group is the newcomer. 

It is in the case of the unattached young man, who must rely 
entirely on his own resources, that low-income levels primarily 
show a direct relationship between income and crime. The un- 
attached individual's lack of knowledge, training and experience, 
lack in range of contacts, lack of individual economic resources, 
etc., are all contributing factors which create a real or potential 
criminal. This relationship between income and crime is not 
valid to the same degree in the case of the juvenile delinquent. 55 
This is due to differences between the juvenile delinquent and the 
unattached young-man offender in age and in individual respon- 
sibility for sustenance. However, even in the case of the juvenile 
delinquent, an indirect relationship exists, to some degree, in that 
he shares the presence or absence of the physical wants and needs 
of his parents. 

Attention is next turned briefly to income levels and scale of 

The income levels in the lower occupational classifications gen- 

66 Exceptions, of course, may be cited. In such cases family disorganiza- 
tion usually involves some economic responsibility on the part of the in- 


erally show that the Negro worker, both male and female, earns 
less than the white worker for the same type and quality of work. 

Rents vary considerably, not only on a basis of the physical con- 
dition of the place, but also depending upon the area of location. 
Regardless of the area, however, Negroes pay higher rent for 
places comparable in physical conditions than do white tenants. 
In order to meet higher rents, Negroes are forced to seek means to 
augment their incomes. Two methods are rather prevalent. Either 
roomers are taken into the home or both the husband and wife 
work outside of the home. If there are children in the family, 
particularly in certain areas, potential delinquency is thus increased. 
Unscrupulous families are often able to pay high rent because of 
illegitimate incomes. The selling of liquor or policy writing are 
typical means employed by this group. As a result of low occupa- 
tional classification and correspondingly low income, Negroes are 
forced to live in deteriorated areas or to use the above legitimate 
or illegitimate means to meet high rents. The foregoing, of course, 
does not hold true with those Negroes in occupational classifications 
and with income levels that allow considerable freedom of choice 
in the selection of the homes in which they live. The statements 
refer primarily to Negroes of lower occupational classifications 
with correspondingly low levels of income. 

The foregoing suggests that in the final analysis a multiple ap- 
proach is necessary in the consideration of housing problems 
among Negroes. This is especially true as it relates to juvenile 
delinquency. Economic and social maladjustment is inextricably 
interwoven with income levels, rent levels, and the physical aspects 
of housing. These factors, nevertheless, are not constant in their 
causal relationships. 

The foregoing unquestionably savors considerably of a plati- 
tudinous summary. However, it loses some of that quality when 
one recognizes that inherent characteristics and differences in com- 
munities suggest a definite and wide selection and segregation 
within the Negro population. Recognition of this fact is basic and 
should be the starting point of any remedial program. 






"Migration to the city is being followed by segregation into dis- 
tricts and neighborhoods within the city. In northern cities years 
ago Negro residents, for the most part, lived where their purses 
allowed. With the influx of thousands of immigrants from the 
South and the West Indies, both native Negro and newcomer 
have been lumped together into distinct neighborhoods. In south- 
ern cities domestic servants usually still live upon the premises of 
their employers or nearby. But the growing Negro business and 
professional classes and those engaged in other than domestic and 
personal service find separate sections in which to dwell. Thus the 
Negro Ghetto is growing up. New York has its 'San Juan Hill' 
in the West Sixties, and its Harlem district of over 35,000 within 
about eighteen city blocks; Philadelphia has its Seventh Ward; 
Chicago has its State Street; Washington its North West Neigh- 
borhood, and Baltimore its Druid Hill Avenue. Louisville has its 
Chestnut Street and its 'Smoketown;' Atlanta its West End and 
Auburn Avenue. These are examples taken at random which are 
typical of cities, large and small, North and South. 

"This segregation within the city is caused by strong forces at 
work both within and without the body of the Negroes them- 
selves. Naturally, Negroes desire to be together. The conscious- 
ness of kind in racial, family and friendly ties binds them closer 
to one another than to their white fellow-citizens. But as Negroes 
develop in intelligence, in their standard of living and economic 
power, they desire better houses, better public facilities and other 
conveniences not usually obtainable in the sections allotted to their 
less fortunate black brothers. To obtain these advantages they 
seek other neighborhoods, just as the European immigrants who 
are crowded into segregated sections of our cities seek better sur- 
roundings when they are economically able to secure them. 

"But a prejudiced opposition from his prospective white neigh- 



bors confronts the Negro, which does not meet the immigrant 
who has shuffled off the coil of his Continental condition. Intelli- 
gence and culture do not often discount color of skin. Profes- 
sions of democratic justice in the North, and deeds of individual 
kindness in the South, have not yet secured to Negroes the un- 
molested residence in blocks with white fellow-citizens. In north- 
ern cities where larger liberty in some avenues obtains, the home 
life, the church life and much of the business and community life 
of Negroes are carried on separately and apart from the common 
life of the whole people. In southern communities, with separate 
street-car laws, separate places of amusement and recreation, 
separate hospitals and separate cemeteries, there is sharp cleavage 
between whites and Negroes, living and dead. With separation 
in neighborhoods, in work, in churches, in homes and in almost 
every phase of their life, there is growing up in the cities of 
America a distinct Negro world, isolated from many of the im- 
pulses of the common life and little known and understood by the 
white world about it. 

". . . In the midst of this migration and segregation, the Negro 
is trying to make a three-fold adjustment, each phase of which re- 
quires heroic struggle. First, there is the adjustment that all 
rural populations have to make in learning to live in town. Ad- 
justment to conditions of housing, employment, amusement, etc., 
is necessary for all who make the change from country to city. 
The Negro must make a second adjustment from the status of a 
chattel to that of free contract, from servitude to citizenship. 
He has to realize in his own consciousness the self-confidence of 
a free man. Finally, the Negro must adjust himself to the white 
population in the cities, and it is no exaggeration of the facts to 
say that generally today the attitude of this white population is 
either indifferent or prejudiced or both. 

"Now, the outcome of segregation in such a serious situation is 
first of all to create an attitude of suspicion and hostility between 
the best elements of the two races. Too much of the Negro's 
knowledge of the white world comes through demagogues, com- 
mercial sharks, yellow journalism and those 'citizens' who com- 
pose the mobs, while too much of the white man's knowledge of 
the Negro people is derived from similar sources, from domestic 
servants and from superficial observation of the loafers about 
the streets. The best elements of both races, thus entirely re- 


moved from friendly contact, except for the chance meeting of 
individuals in the market place, know hardly anything of their 
common life and tend to become more suspicious and hostile 
toward each other than toward strangers from a far country. 

"The white community is thus frequently led to unjust judg- 
ments of Negroes and Negro neighborhoods, as seen in the 
sobriquets of 'Little Africa/ 'Black Bottom/ 'Niggertown/ 'Smoke- 
town/ 'Buzzard's Alley/ 'Chinch-row/ and as indicated by the fact 
that the individuals and families who live in these neighborhoods 
are all lumped by popular opinion into one class. Only here and 
there does a white person come to know that 'there are Negroes 
and Negroes just as there are white folks and white folks.' The 
most serious side of this attitude and opinion is, that the Negro is 
handicapped by them in securing the very things that would help 
in working out his own salvation." pp. 109- 11 1. 1 


"There are few cities that are not experiencing now some dis- 
turbance on the question of Negro residence areas, and in many of 
them this question has reached the desperate acuteness of attempts 
at forcible segregation . . . 

"More than physical limitations constitute the problem. . . . 

"... Frequent . . . attempts to legislate (to control Negro en- 
croachment on white neighborhoods) . . . have occurred in such 
border cities as Baltimore, Washington, Louisville and St. Louis 

. . ." p. 302. 2 


"The segregation movement . . . may be viewed as a process 
by which individuals in a free society redistributed themselves 
in accordance with natural ability and personal interest, and how 
this natural tendency was in part directed and controlled and 
everywhere limited by the existing racial and caste attitudes . . ." 

p. 154. 3 


"Separation by residence of the Negro from the white exists in 

1 Haynes, George E., "Conditions Among Negroes in the Cities," Annals 
of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, September, 1913, 
Vol. 49, pp. 105-119. 

2 "A Note on Housing Problems," (Editorial) Opportunity, October, 1926, 
Vol. 4, p. 302. 

3 Reuter, E. B., The American Race Problem, New York, Thomas Y. 
Crowell Company, 1927. 


some form in all American cities. In none of them is there com- 
plete segregation. No large American city is entirely white or 
entirely Negro, as is the case with certain smaller communities. 
There is no Negro quarter in any city in this country with the 
absolute line of demarcation which separated Jew from Gentile in 
the ghettos of the Middle Ages in European cities ... p. 105. 

"The residential separation of white and Negro has almost in- 
variably been treated by itself as if it were a unique phenomenon 
of urban life. In fact, however, as recent studies clearly prove, 
that is only one case among many of the workings of the process 
of segregation in the sorting and shifting of the different elements 
of population in the growth of the city. There are immigrant 
colonies, the so-called Ghettos, Little Sicilies, Chinatowns as well 
as Black Belts. There are also economic and cultural areas which 
often cut across or transcend racial and nationality classifications 
like the Hobohemias, Bohemias, Suburbias and Gold Coasts of 
our metropolitan cities. The city, upon analysis, is divided and 
subdivided into residential areas and neighborhoods, each of which 
is or tends to be predominantly inhabited by some one racial and 
immigrant group, or economic and social class . . . p. 105. 

"Every community as it grows expands outward from its center. 
This radial extension from the downtown business district towards 
the outskirts of the city is due partly to business and industrial 
pressure and partly to residential pull. Business and light manu- 
facturing, as they develop, push out from the center of the city 
and encroach upon residence. At the same time, families are always 
responding to the appeal of more attractive residential districts, 
further and ever further removed from the center of the city. 

"As the result, then, of business and industrial encroachment, 
on the one hand, and of the corresponding residential motive of 
escape, on the other, the city tends to take form and to become 
organized on a pattern approximating that of concentric zones . . . 
These zones are : 

I. The Central Business District Zone. 
II. The Zone in Transition. 

III. The Zone of Workingmen's Homes. 

IV. The Residential Zone. 

V. The Commuters' Zone . . .jpp. 105-106. 

". . . In applying this pattern of urban zones to the problem of 
residential segregation of racial and immigrant groups, certain 


interesting facts at once emerge which suggest clues for further 
study . . ." p. 108. 4 

"In order to classify cities according to the pattern of racial 
separation, it is convenient to consider any area with a population 
more than 90 per cent Negro as a concentrated Negro area, and 
any area with a population more than 90 per cent white as a con- 
centrated white area. 

"The first group is typified by New York and Chicago, where 
the concentration of Negroes is great and yet where it affects only 
a small part of the whole city area; . . . the second group . . . 
by Richmond, and includes most of the large southern cities 
where Negroes are highly concentrated in several rather large 
parts of the city and lightly scattered in others; ... the third 
. . . group is typified by Charleston, and is limited to the older 
southern cities and towns which have a heavy percentage of 
Negroes in their total population, and consequently a heavy scat- 
tering of Negroes throughout the city . . . and group four is 
composed of cities with light colored infusion, where the diffusion 
of Negroes affects only a very small area of the city and is some- 
what scattered within this area . . ." pp. 37-3S. 5 


"The most fundamental factor in the Negroes' housing troubles 
has been their segregation in certain sections of the cities. This 
concentration in particular districts is, of course, not a situation 
peculiar to the colored population, for many nationality groups 
tend to congregate in special areas, and every large city has its 
Jewish section, its Chinatown or its Italian quarter. In the case 
of the Negroes, however, the situation is more complex and seri- 
ous because of the emotional tension involved and the race prej- 
udice of the white people, who discourage attempts of the Negroes 
to expand or change their customary residential area. Nor is 
segregation a new phenomenon in the North, as for decades prac- 
tically every northern city has exhibited to some extent a segrega- 
tion of the colored residential sections from those of the whites. 
Although complete and exclusive segregation of the Negroes into 

* Burgess, Ernest W., "Residential Segregation in American Cities," An- 
nals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, November, 
1928, Vol. 140, pp. 105-115. 

5 Woofter, T. J. Jr. and Associates, Negro Problems in Cities, Garden 
City, N. Y., Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., 1928. 


a district entirely colored was never prevalent, yet, as a general 
rule, most of the Negro inhabitants lived in a few sections of each 
city, the remainder being scattered in varying proportions among 
the white neighborhoods. Thus virtual segregation had been more 
or less quietly practiced for years, but with the arrival of hordes 
of Negroes from the South this whole question of segregation 
assumed new prominence and importance. In industrial centers 
which received a noticeable increase in the number of colored 
inhabitants, the migration tended to increase the amount of segre- 
gation and to build up more distinctly Negro communities within 
the cities ... pp. 143-144. 

"Opposition to the expansion of Negro residence sections did 
not generally assume the violent form of bombing and incendiar- 
ism, but throughout the North there was widespread resentment 
among white groups whenever Negroes tried to settle in new 
neighborhoods ... p. 148. 

"On the other hand, there are numerous cases of actual prop- 
erty appreciation. Particularly since the recent migrations, the 
Negroes have experienced serious difficulty in securing homes and 
the result has been keen competition for houses which were 
available. In such cases a Negro buyer or tenant is often willing 
to pay a higher price than will a white man and a cool-headed 
white owner can thus sell out at greater profit. According to the 
Pennsylvania survey, 'Rents and selling prices have always been 
raised when Negroes moved into the houses that formerly were 
occupied by whites. The increases have averaged all the way from 

25 to 50 per cent.' . . ." p. 150. 6 

* * * * * 

"The factor of racial segregation, both voluntary and involun- 
tary, may, and frequently does, contribute an angle to Negro hous- 
ing as acute as segregation by income classes may contribute to the 
housing problem of small-income groups. For even though a city 
may have a sufficient number of dwellings for its total population, 
there can still be an acute problem of available homes for Negroes. 
This factor has been marked by the following: 

(a) The tendency of the Negro population to concentrate in fewer 
wards of cities, particularly in the North; 

(b) Segregation laws designed to delimit areas of white and Negro 
residence by legislation; 

8 Kennedy, Louise Venable, The Negro Peasant Turns Cityward, New 
York, Columbia University Press, 1930. 


(c) Restrictive compacts entered upon by white property owners to 
prevent occupancy of certain areas by Negroes; 

(d) The question of property depreciation ; 

(e) The problem of financing home buying by Negroes in areas desig- 
nated Negro. 

"Studies of urban zones tend to stress the almost inevitable 
and unique racial concentration linking them with certain economic 
implications. The urban studies at the University of Chicago, con- 
ducted under the direction of Robert E. Park and Ernest W. 
Burgess, have gone far towards reducing these observations to a 
pattern. Cities tend to expand and become organized on a pat- 
tern approximately that of concentric zones. . . . pp. 200-201. 

"A significant difference appears between northern and southern 
cities. The location of many Negro homes in the South, near 
places of employment as domestics, has established tolerance in 
large degree of Negro neighbors, and it is possible, frequently, 
for them to purchase and improve the property. Moreover, in 
many cities of the South, Negroes have preceded white popula- 
tions in sites desired as new developments and, owning the prop- 
erty, have remained as these sites developed. Border cities, like 
Baltimore, Maryland ; Louisville, Kentucky ; St. Louis, Missouri ; 
with an uncertain mixture of traditions of both North and South, 
have attempted to fix relations artificially through legislation. In 
successive instances, however, segregation ordinances limiting the 
residential areas of Negroes and of whites have been declared un- 
constitutional by the higher courts. In northern cities, prior to the 
large migrations of Negroes from the South, the Negro popula- 
tion was a negligible factor. Economically hard pressed, it lived 
in the abandoned sites of early white residents along with or in 
close succession to other racial groups of similar economic status. 
With the sudden influx of newcomers and the overrunning of areas 
generally associated with Negroes, reaction to expansion was acute. 
In many instances racial factors were given an importance much 
out of proportion to their actual place in the natural course of the 
properties in question. The Chicago riot had as one of its aggra- 
vating causes this feature of the housing problem. Other cities 
have had similar, if somewhat wider, experiences, and may there- 
fore be taken as more representative of a large area." p. 203. 7 

'Johnson, Charles S., The Negro in American Civilisation, New York, 
Henry Holt and Company, 1930. 


The Causes and Results of Segregation 8 

". . . Residential segregation is the acute phase of the Negro 
problem at the present time. Our large cities are being dotted 
with black wards and white wards, which the politician knows as 
well as the seaman knows the depths and shallows of the sea. 
Public discussion of the race problem for the past decade has been 
all but exclusively concerned with the northern migration and 
the issues leading up to and flowing from that movement. The 
rapid shifting of the Negro population from the agricultural 
regions to the industrial centres was but an incident of the World 
War, which has been prolonged by the restrictive policy adopted 
affecting foreign immigration. The immediate motive of the 
movement must clearly be attributed to industrial attractiveness 
and economic allurement. It became seriously complicated by 
agitation for political rights and civic equality. At one time this 
movement threatened to assume the proportion of a hysterical 
hegira shifting the gravamen of the race problem from the South 
to the North. But after meeting the sudden necessity of war 
expansion, northern industries have resumed their normal rate, 
making a steady but diminished demand for the reenforcement of 
black labor. We may therefore calculate that the growth of the 
Negro contingent in the northern cities will be continuous and con- 
trolled by the law of supply and demand in the labor market. 

"The Negro leaves the agricultural district and the small town 
and proceeds to the large cities of the North, where practically 
the whole northern contingent is to be found. Because of the 
rapid expansion of numbers, the Negro problem has become more 
instant and urgent in the North than in the South. The question 
of housing is the first issue to intrude itself and compel attention. 
Other features of adjustment might well wait for a more pro- 
pitious season. But the primal necessity for shelter, like that for 
food, cannot be postponed or delayed. Somewhere to live is as 
imperative as something to eat. The unparalleled influx of whites, 
of itself, would have made the housing issue acute had not a 
single Negro been involved, but the presence of the Negro gave 
rise to a double order of complexity. He must needs be provided 
for, not only with the rest, but separately from the rest. There 
is little or no observable difference of sentiment on the part of 

By Kelly Miller, Howard University. 


the North and the South so far as segregation is concerned, ex- 
cept as it is affected by the relativity of numbers. 

"Peoples who feel themselves different, on whatever basis of 
distinction this difference may rest, will seek separate domiciliary 
areas. It boots little whether the basis of difference be racial, 
social or cultural. This is often done without any conscious sense 
of superior assumption on the one hand or self-debasement on the 
other. In the Pacific cities the Japanese and the Chinese live in 
self-sequestered communities by preference rather than by com- 
pulsion. There is no conscious sense of self-belittlement on the 
part of these non- white racial varieties. It often happens that a 
group conscious of its own idiosyncrasies prefers its own com- 
munity, to live according to its own manners, habits, and social 
customs without embarrassing proximity to alien onlookers. The 
Indian never seeks close residential relationships with the whites, 
but like Milton's Satan, feels that 'furthest from him is best.' 
But an inferiority complex which traditional subordination has 
imposed upon the Negro has well-nigh robbed him of racial self- 
esteem. His attitude toward the white race is that of the sub- 
junctive mood. Unlike the Indian, the burden of his refrain is 
'nearer to thee.' Anything that tends to racial separation in any 
form he regards as an invidious discrimination which pushes him 
still further from the plane of equality with his white overlord. 

"The white man, on the other hand, deems social assimilability 
impossible either now or at any future time. The dominant and 
controlling element in the case is the determined attitude of the 
white race to forbid residential promiscuity which, in turn, it is 
felt, would lead to social equality. According to the traditional 
bias of the American mind, the Negro's color connotes inferiority. 
His birthmark is more opprobrious than the brand on the fore- 
head of Cain. He must be colonized and penned into himself as 
a race diseased. Intermarriageability is the acid test of good 
neighborhood. Wherever two easily distinguishable groups are 
forbidden to intermarry by law or custom, they will both find 
themselves uncomfortable in close residential proximity. The 
determination of the white race on this score is so firm and 
emphatic that it has been placed beyond the pale of argumentation 
and debate. The attitude on intermarriage, as well as its pre- 
liminary social intimacies, is well-nigh unanimous in the white 


mind. This attitude will determine the issue of segregation as long 
as it holds with tenacity and firmness. 

"There is a certain type of temperament among the Negro intel- 
ligentsia which dramatizes equality as the goal of all their striv- 
ings. To this group discrimination on account of race is the last 
word of abomination. The slightest suggestion of distinction 
meets with indignation. No form of racial separation is tolerable. 
They deride the natural disposition of self-segregation as being 
derogatory to the doctrine of equality. To them agitation for 
rights is a more engaging pastime than calm and logical analysis 
of the factors involved in race advantage and advancement. The 
question often rises in the mind of the white people why intelli- 
gent, self-respecting Negroes seek to intrude themselves upon 
white communities, since, in their view, exclusive racial neighbor- 
hood is but a proper assertion of race preference and privilege 
and leads to the peace and happiness of all concerned. The right- 
minded Negro does not oppose segregation as such, but on account 
of its compulsory character and the resulting hardships. It is an 
infringement on his citizenship rights under the Fourteenth 
Amendment to limit by law, or by any other form of compulsion, 
his human or his property rights on the ground of race or color. 
The desire of peoples of like taste and disposition to live in their 
own communities on terms of easy social intimacy cannot be 
affected by anything which the Negro can say or do. He knows 
quite well that no amount of agitation on his part can force resi- 
dential promiscuity with white people where such association is 
unwelcome. Neither party could gain or bestow happiness by such 
means. On the other hand he cannot be expected to surrender in 
principle his constitutional right to the unrestricted use of prop- 
erty, unhampered or unhindered by race or color. 

"This seeming inconsistency is the inevitable result of the at- 
tempt to make race prejudice conform to logic. The protestation 
of the right-minded Negro is more than a mere abstract assertion 
of his rights under the law. He is contending for real, concrete, 
practical advantages. If the unrestricted tendency to force segre- 
gation were allowed to go on without protest the Negro would 
remain penned up in the most unsightly and unsanitary sections of 
the cities to which his original ignorance and poverty assigned 
him. When the Negro began to acquire intelligence and substance, 
he was confronted with his residential predicament. He found 


that he was living in alleys, and dark places, out of harmony with 
his tastes and ability to acquire a modern home with up-to-date 
appointments and facilities. There was no other way for him to 
improve his surroundings and living conditions than by seeking 
accommodations in white neighborhoods. He quite naturally 
objects to being penned up in unwholesome surroundings from 
which there is no escape. Experience also shows that exclusive 
Negro neighborhoods cannot always rely upon city authorities to 
furnish facilities for decent living. This is especially true in the 
South where the Negro race is deprived of the franchise. It is 
difficult to secure paved streets, light, water and sewerage in 
Negro sections. The city officials are first concerned in meeting 
the demands of the voters to whom they owe their positions. It is 
as true now as when Lincoln first uttered it that 'no man is good 
enough to govern another man without his consent.' Small 
wonder, then, that the Negro is suspicious of fixed residential 

". . . With the present attitude of the white race and its grow- 
ing racial consciousness it is inevitable that the influx of Negroes 
should be confined in segregated communities. As a social move- 
ment the process has gone on almost unnoticed by both races. 
Negro communities have grown up in all parts of the country as 
if of their own accord. In many instances the Negro has secured 
the fairest sections of our proudest cities. Reservations which a 
brief generation ago the elite had chosen for their own abode have 
fallen into the hands of the black invaders. The writer recalls a 
reservation in the city of Washington where thirty years ago no 
colored man was permitted even to pass through without a written 
statement of his mission. Today a white man is supposed not to 
tarry in this same reservation except on stated business. About 
two decades ago an enterprising Negro realtor secured possession 
of an apartment house in New York City. The adjacent houses 
soon became vacant. Negro tenants were secured to fill the 
vacancies. Contiguous properties were abandoned by white ten- 
ants as fast as black encroachment impinged upon the erstwhile 
tenements. After two decades we find in the heart of New York 
the largest Negro city in the world. Here we see a solid Negro 
community of some 200,000 souls, in compact residential segrega- 
tion, with as definite lines of demarcation as if cut by a knife. 
There was no compelling law. Indeed, the tradition and practice 


of New York State are against any form of racial discrimination 
by law, and yet this process has gone on and still continues as effec- 
tively as if by legislative enactment. The same story can be told 
of all our larger cities to which Negroes are flocking in numbers. 
"For the most part this process has gone on noiselessly without 
exciting public notice or agitation. Occasionally there may be a 
border skirmish, without serious effect to the participants or check 
to the movement. The only casualty that has occurred throughout 
the country was in the Sweet case in Detroit, which attracted 
nation-wide attention. This case was in no sense different from 
hundreds of other incidents occurring all over the country, with 
the exception that it resulted in bloodshed. Dr. Sweet, a suc- 
cessful medical practitioner in the City of Detroit, purchased a 
house in what had hitherto been an exclusive white block. The 
usual process of intimidation was resorted to. Windows were 
broken, threats were made, and a noisy crowd assembled in front 
of the premises. As a result of Dr. Sweet's defense of his home 
an innocent bystander, a white man, was killed. Dr. Sweet and 
his co-defenders were indicted for murder. The case appealed 
to the sympathy of the Negro race throughout the country. A 
considerable defense fund was raised by contributions and the 
most noted criminal lawyer in the country was engaged. The 
issue was not essentially one of segregation, but the sacredness of 
the home. The court, true to Anglo-Saxon tradition, decided that 
a man's home is his castle. The charge of murder was not proved, 
and Dr. Sweet was acquitted. Yet this tragic incident had not the 
slightest effect upon the segregation movement in Detroit or else- 
where. The writer visited Detroit a few weeks after the trial 
and found that there was not the slightest change of mind on the 
part of either whites or blacks. We may count on more of these 
incidents in the establishment of residential boundaries between 
the races. The National Association for the Advancement of 
Colored People, on the strength of the Sweet case, has issued a 
nation-wide appeal for $1,000,000 to fight the cause of segregation, 
but this fund, when raised, will be used mainly to defend the legal 
rights of Negroes to occupy property secured by due process of 
law, and will have little or no effect upon the real movement 
toward segregation. 


"The attempt is made to blame the Negro purchaser for intrud- 
ing in what are regarded as white neighborhoods, but whatever 
blame there may be should be properly apportioned. The white 
property owner and real estate dealer control the situation. No 
Negro can buy unless the white owner or dealer is willing to sell. 

"When the cityward movement of the Negro received its great- 
est impetus during the World War, sundry municipalities sought 
to fix bounds of racial residence by city ordinance. Hitherto the 
matter had been handled by real estate dealers, who came to a 
general understanding whereby colored people would be excluded 
from certain prescribed areas and allowed to occupy others. In 
many instances the owners in certain blocks, subdivisions or sec- 
tions would enter into covenants among themselves not to rent or 
sell to Negroes. Nevertheless, real estate dealers and owners 
could not be relied upon to abide by their gentlemen's agreement 
in the face of a tempting offer from a colored client, and the cove- 
nant among brokers broke down. Race prejudice, lacking the 
strength and stubbornness to enforce its own decrees, sought pro- 
tection of the law. 

"The classic attempt in this direction was made by the City of 
Louisville, Ky., which passed an ordinance forbidding colored 
persons from occupying houses as residences or places of abode, 
or publicly assembling in blocks where the majority of houses 
were occupied by white persons, and in like manner forbidding 
white persons when the conditions as to occupancy were reversed, 
the interdiction being based upon color and nothing more. The 
United States Supreme Court unanimously decided that such 
ordinances passed by a state or municipality were in violation of 
the Fourteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution. This 
settled the legal aspect of segregation based wholly upon race or 
color. But social forces laugh at laws. The decision of the 
Supreme Court had no appreciable effect. Since this judgment, 
which was rendered immediately before America entered the 
World War, Harlem has grown by leaps and bounds. The Negro 
population of our large cities, especially in the North, has more 
than doubled. Practically all of them have been confined within 
prescribed limits. The process goes on as effectively without the 
law as with it. New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Cleveland 


furnish the largest and most complete instances of segregation on 
record; and yet it is without the faintest suggestion of legal 

"After the decision of the Supreme Court various municipali- 
ties fell back upon the reliance of covenants or gentlemen's agree- 
ments to preserve the racial integrity of specified blocks, sections, 
and subdivisions. If no covenanter violated his agreement, no 
Negro could ever invade the forbidden preserves. But here again 
the thirst for gold asserted its power. These covenants became 
mere scraps of paper. 

". . . In 1926 the National Association for the Advancement 
of Colored People undertook to test the legality of these covenants 
by carrying a case arising in Washington, D. C., to the United 
States Supreme Court. There were at that time as many as seven- 
teen cities in different parts of the country with covenants of like 
purport, some of them aiming at Italians and Jews. The Supreme 
Court unanimously sustained the judgment of the lower courts to 
the effect that these covenants had the legal force of contracts and 
did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment. This case was an 
apparent victory for the covenanters and legalized segregation, 
but in the long run it will be found that, though it may modify the 
direction, it will not affect the volume of segregation. Covenants 
entered into by common agreement are cancelled by common con- 
sent. The very block that was the subject of the test case in 
Washington is now occupied by Negroes, in uncontested tenancy, 
although the court decision forbids persons of Negro blood to buy 
or live in that block for a period of twenty-one years. Nor is the 
legal aspect of the victory final. The decision of the Supreme 
Court suggested a loophole through which the matter might be 
brought up for further adjudication. The next case which the 
Negroes will take to the Supreme Court will hinge upon the 
alienability of property rather than the rights of the race under 
the Fourteenth Amendment. 

"Unfortunately, segregation is begetting ill-will between the 
races. The ordinary white citizen, who had never thought of the 
Negro except remotely as a being to be helped, pitied or ignored, 
when forced out of his home by Negro encroachment develops an 
antagonistic and bitter spirit. The Negro is developing his own 
business enterprises to meet the needs of a segregated population. 
Until now this development has been disappointingly slow, but 


whatever business energy the race displays is found in these areas. 
At one time, the Negro developed certain forms of business which 
catered exclusively to white patrons, such as barber shops, restau- 
rants, catering and livery stables, but under modern competition 
such undertakings have become almost wholly a thing of the past. 
Every Negro community in our large cities has business streets 
where one sees encouraging indications of Negro business in the 
future. Strangely enough, in this respect, Harlem, the largest 
instance of segregation, lags far behind most other cities. 

"Whatever political power the Negro exerts is derived from 
segregation. In several of the large cities, such as New York, 
Philadelphia, Chicago, and Cleveland, he elects one or more mem- 
bers of the city council and sometimes a member of the state legis- 
lature as a result of his localized vote. A strong professional 
class has been developed. The Negro preacher administers ex- 
clusively to colored parishioners. The physician has almost a 
monopoly of colored patients. More and more the Negro teachers 
are being assigned to colored pupils in the public schools. The 
Negro has established his own dance halls, theatres, and places 
of amusement. But the greatest marvel is seen in the rapid 
acquisition of property. In Harlem, where the bulk of population 
lives in flats and the rent of individual homes is almost prohibitive, 
this tendency to ownership is not so apparent; but in cities like 
Baltimore, Washington, and Chicago the Negroes in large part 
own or are purchasing their own homes in the segregated sections. 
But nowhere do we discover that the race is developing industrial 
and economic self-sufficiency. There is little or no surplus capital. 
There is all but complete reliance upon the whites for employment 
and means of livelihood. 

"The destiny of the Negro population in large cities is clearly 
foreshadowed. The Negro is to live and move and have his social 
being in areas apart from the whites. About this it is needless to 
argue or debate, but merely to observe. The border skirmishes 
to determine the fixity or fluidity of the boundaries will be largely 
a question of supply and demand. Real estate dealers will pay 
more attention to providing housing accommodations for colored 
people suitable to their tastes and means of maintenance and thus 
relieve the points of pressure. The few wealthier colored men will 
not find it necessary to move beyond the racial boundaries in 
order to secure residences suitable to their financial ability and 


taste. A tacit understanding, though perhaps not a formal agree- 
ment, will be reached, honorable and satisfactory to both white 
and black, upon whose mutual good-will and cooperation the wel- 
fare of our cities and of our nation depends." pp. 827-831. 

* * * 

The Negro Protests Against Ghetto Conditions 9 

"In substance Dr. Kelly Miller postulates as 'beyond the pale' 
of argument certain beliefs of white men; urges resignation in 
face of the 'inevitability of social forces,' i.e., lawlessness, 'which 
laughs at law,' and proposes acceptance of what he erects into the 
'destiny' of the Negro in America, which is to live in ghettos, pur- 
suant to tacit understanding, illegal but nevertheless 'honorable 
and satisfactory to both white and black.' 

"To bolster up his position Dr. Miller deals arbitrarily with the 
entire series of legal victories against segregation. He admits the 
Louisville segregation case, won in 1917 before the Supreme Court 
by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored 
People, forever outlawed state or municipal enactments establish- 
ing segregated residential districts. Then he says this unanimous 
decision of the Supreme Court 'had no appreciable effect on the 
fact of segregation/ Is Dr. Miller ignorant of the fact that had 
the decision gone the other way there is not an American city 
with large Negro population in which segregation ordinances would 
not have been pushed and probably enacted ? 

"The second step, the Sweet case in Detroit, also fought by the 
N. A. A. C. P. and won by its attorney, Clarence Darrow, went 
beyond the civil aspects of segregation by law and established the 
Negro's right to protect himself against segregation by mob. Dr. 
Miller, on the strength of a 'visit' to Detroit, asserts the Sweet case 
did not involve segregation and that it 'had not the slightest effect' 
upon the segregation movement. Judge Ira W. Jayne of the 
Wayne County Circuit Court, who has the advantage of living in 
Detroit and of being familiar with the situation, informs me that 
'the Sweet trial has been of great educational value in teaching 
tolerance, the tragedy of mob spirit, and the need for Negro 
housing.' Race relations, Judge Jayne continues, are now more 
amicable than they have been since the migration began and the 

9 By Herbert J. Seligmann, National Association for the Advancement of 
Colored People. 


'police problem is much relieved.' Since the trial there have been 
no attacks upon Negro residents of districts predominantly white, 
although before the trial there were a number of such attacks and 
one reputable colored doctor was driven from his home. The peo- 
ple of Detroit now realize that 85,000 colored people cannot be 
crowded in the space occupied by 8,000 before the World War. 
At least three competent observers, one of them M. L. Walker, 
a prominent colored citizen of Detroit, bear out Judge Jayne's 
observations. Nor has the lesson been lost on other cities. 

"In commenting on the Washington case, the third step in the 
legal attack upon segregation, Dr. Miller fails to say that the 
Supreme Court in 1926 declared its lack of jurisdiction and went 
out of its way to indicate the opportunity for further cases. Three 
cases are now in preparation to test conclusively the question of 
segregation by property owners' agreement. 

"The Louisville case killed segregation enactments by city or 
state. The Detroit case was a fatal blow to segregation by mob. 
A victory in the three cases now in preparation would complete 
the circle by outlawing property owners' writing their own segre- 
gation laws into private agreements. Having minimized the effec- 
tiveness of legal victories against segregation, Dr. Miller, to prove 
the case, draws an inaccurate picture of the status of city-dwelling 
Negroes. In Harlem, for example, he claims they are set off from 
whites by a line of demarcation as sharp as if cut by a knife; the 
tendency to home ownership there is 'not apparent,' and he adds 
that nowhere 'do we discover' that the race is developing 'indus- 
trial and economic self-sufficiency.' 

"What are the facts ? In border streets of Harlem colored peo- 
ple and white live side by side. They do so elsewhere in New York 
City. They do so without friction throughout the North and even 
in the South, except where such friction is fomented. Both races 
have even tenanted amicably the same apartment houses in Harlem. 
Dr. Miller's imaginary knife line has no counterpart in reality. 
Even as theory such separation becomes absurd. In any city hous- 
ing both races they must somewhere live in contact, unless it pro- 
poses to establish a no man's land patrolled by armed sentries. 

"... As for the tendency to home ownership being not ap- 
parent in Harlem, perhaps that is because Dr. Miller failed to 
inform himself. John E. Nail, a member of the real estate firm 
of Nail and Parker, estimates the colored holding of real estate 


in Harlem at more than $60,000,000 including many apartment 
houses as well as private dwellings. In one year Negroes are 
reported to have taken title to $5,000,000 in New York real 
estate, most of it in Harlem, making cash payments of $1,000,000. 

"In view of there being every form of service in Harlem from 
theatres to restaurants and all manner of small shops, Dr. Miller's 
failure to discover 'any tendency' of the race to develop industrial 
and economic self-sufficiency seems strange. Of course, if this 
phrase 'self-sufficiency' be taken literally, the statement becomes 
absurd. No race or group living in the midst of another group 
ever developed absolute self-sufficiency. Dr. Miller admits weak- 
ness of his own statement when he writes : 'The same might, of 
course, be said of the great bulk of the white race.' Measured 
by any ordinary standard of progress, economic, and commercial, 
as well as cultural, the development of the Negro has been and 
continues to be extraordinary. 

"Dr. Miller's attitude toward race problems accords with his 
presentation of facts. He indulges in loose statements, for ex- 
ample, that 'the Negro problem has become more instant and 
urgent in the North than in the South,' a statement any intelligent 
Negro south of the Mason and Dixon line would ridicule. He 
states unequivocally that 'the white man deems social assimilability 
impossible.' If this be true, why the agitation about it and the 
controversial literature ? He accepts as beyond argument a criterion 
for white men, which many of them would repudiate, namely, 
that 'intermarriageability is the acid test for good neighborhood,' 
and uses that statement to bolster his case. In effect, he cham- 
pions segregation on this ground, ignoring the fact that most peo- 
ple living in large cities make no effort to know their neighbors, 
or even those living in the same building. He asserts un- 
equivocally of certain Negro groups that for them 'no form of 
racial separation is tolerable,' when, in fact, it is enforced and not 
voluntary separation that is in question. No rational Negro quar- 
rels with the tendency, natural or acquired, of individuals to live 
among their own group, provided the choice is free. Negroes as 
a group have no more desire to live among whites than whites 
have to live among Negroes. But individual Negroes who prosper 
do want decent homes, in decent districts, decently lighted, policed, 


paved and served with schools, water and sewer; and all Negroes 
know that enforcement of segregation, whether or not by tacit 
agreement, means inferior accommodation at exorbitant rents, 
just as in the South the Jim Crow cars, theoretically 'equal accom- 
modation/ are in effect for the most part disgraceful denial of 
decency, cleanliness and comfort for travel. 

"A fundamental which Dr. Miller entirely loses from sight is 
that the Negro as an American citizen has no choice except to fight 
segregation to the last ditch. To accept it would be to brand him- 
self as inferior and to accept permanent impairment of his status 
as a citizen." pp. 831-833. 10 


"The increasing acceptance of zoning plans as a means of regulating city 
growth scientifically has brought up the inevitable question regarding the 
status of Negro residents in the scheme. Several cities have already at- 
tempted to incorporate in the general plan a subsidiary one aimed at the 
residential segregation of Negroes. We have asked an expert on zoning to 
define its principles and the relation of this scheme to the question of Negro 
residents and Negro residence areas where they exist. Editor." {Oppor- 

"When our Federal Constitution was in the making, George 
Washington sat as arbiter between two strong men, representing 
two theories of government. Alexander Hamilton stood for the 
concentration of power in a central governing body. Thomas 
Jefferson stood for individual rights. Out of discussions and 
compromises was born our Constitution, with its first ten amend- 
ments which we call our 'Bill of Rights.' After more than a 
century the opposing theories still are discussed and compromised 
in popular arguments for individual liberty, in the claims of cities 
for a greater measure of home rule than the states are willing 
to grant them, and in the arguments of the states against growing 
Federal control. 

"The two theories are summed up in two clauses. Individual 
liberty is expressed by 'nor be deprived of life, liberty, or prop- 
erty, without due process of law/ The opposing right, the right 
of the community to pass laws and ordinances to protect 'health, 
safety, morals and general welfare' has gradually modified this so- 

10 Miller, Kelly, and Seligmann, Herbert G., "Separate Communities for 
Negroes Two Points of View," Current History, March, 1927. Vol. 25, 
pp. 827-833. 


called individual liberty, giving protection to all citizens equally. 

"So men still argue that every man's house is his castle, and that 
property rights give entire control of everything within the 
boundaries of any plot of land down through to China and up 
to the sky. Most men, however, have been convinced by common 
sense and experience that many individual preferences must be 
surrendered for the common good. Four thousand years ago, 
Confucius, the wise man of Shantung, said: 'The value of thy 
house dependeth on thy neighbor.' Problems of 'health, safety, 
morals and general welfare' make the old adage apply with great 
force to every piece of property in a city where overcrowded 
streets, land and houses compel the observance of laws which 
restrict, but at the same time give protection. 

"After trying with indifferent success to solve the problems of 
city congestion of streets, land, and houses through rapid transit, 
through breathing spaces in parks and playgrounds, through build- 
ing code restrictions, and health ordinances, and through control 
of height of buildings, municipalities are now at work on zoning 
plans, which affect every piece of property in the city. Maps are 
made a part of the city plan, establishing zones in which 

1. The use of buildings, 

2. The height to which they may be erected, and 

3. The area of the lot which they may cover, 

are fixed by law. 

"When zoning maps are made a part of the ordinances, no 
longer may an owner build a public garage, or a wet wash laundry 
in a residence district. Factories are made good neighbors to 
each other, but forbidden to invade commercial or residential dis- 
tricts. The districts vary in size, and in location, following natural 
tendencies of the growth of the city. The result is a city which is 
as orderly as a well planned house, and where the necessary activi- 
ties of industry, of commerce, and of family life, each has its 
appointed place. Property values are stabilized, public utilities 
are adapted to the specific use for which they are needed, and all 
property is protected by law in its use and development. 

"Zoning regulations apply to future buildings only, but so rapid 
is growth and rebuilding in our American cities, that a genera- 
tion will bring almost a complete change, and a city with a prop- 
erly made zone plan will grow into it. 


"One of the charges most commonly made against a zoning 
plan is that it takes away property rights 'without due process of 
law.' Probably every community reform brought about under 
the police power of states which gives them the right of passing 
laws for the 'health, safety, morals and general welfare' of all its 
citizens, has met the same charge. As soon as people commence 
to live in groups, it immediately develops that one owner of land 
cannot be allowed to please himself, if he injures his neighbor. A 
water supply from wells, easily contaminated, is early replaced 
by a pure water supply, municipally controlled. Sewers permit 
the proper disposal of wastes, and the abolishment of out-door 
closets. The nuisance of scattered garbage and other debris leads 
to regular collections. Building codes compel safety of con- 

"Health ordinances include light and ventilation of rooms, water 
supply and indoor toilets, and take little account of individual 
rights, when the health officer nails up a colored card telling of 
infectious disease and establishing a quarantine. Fire limits are 
arbitrary, but the lines are accepted as a necessity. Frontage con- 
sents control certain industries which make objectionable noises, 
smells, or even which create a moral hazard, as did saloons. 

"But local ordinances and state laws which prohibit, have 
proved insufficient. We must have a new formula for solving our 
city problems. A zoning plan is a factor in this formula, for it 
deals directly with all the real property in a city. By establishing 
varied districts, varied in size, in all parts of a city, for the loca- 
tion of industry, commerce and homes it gives equal opportunity 
to property owners, and yet safeguards the general welfare of all. 
It tends to make business property values more stable, and to pro- 
mote home owning because the investment of savings is protected, 
and the gamble is taken out. 

"The need for a city plan, with a zoning plan included grows 
naturally out of the increasing need for control of transportation, 
streets, parks, and playgrounds, public utilities, and all activities 
of city life. The city plan movement was well under way in 
1907, and in 1910, zoning plans came up for discussion. In 1922, 
about 50 cities had zoning plans in operation, or almost ready for 
passage, and more than 150 cities and towns were making prelimi- 
nary studies. The danger is that what seems to be a remedy, 
may be injudiciously or carelessly applied, through inadequate 


study of the real needs, and the best way of applying the 

"Our first zoning ordinance was adopted by New York City on 
July 25th, 1916, after careful studies had been made for five 
years. It is called a 'Building Zone Resolution/ and defines its 
purpose as follows: 

" 'A Resolution regulating and limiting the height and bulk of buildings 
hereafter erected, and regulating and determining the areas of courts, yards 
and other open spaces, and regulating and restricting the location of trades 
and industries and the location of buildings designed for specified uses and 
establishing the boundaries of districts for said purposes.' 

"Each phrase of that very compact paragraph has been the title 
of an explanatory article, of discussions, and of controversy. It 
introduces new interpretation of the right of the state under its 
police power, to grant to cities the power to regulate private prop- 
erty in its uses, its development, and its neighbors, whether fac- 
tories, stores, or homes. Control of private property for the 
'health, safety, morals and general welfare' of the whole com- 
munity, cannot be arbitrary, retroactive, nor confiscatory. But 
so obvious are the benefits, and up to the present time, so wisely 
have been the limitations imposed, that the courts have sustained 
zoning plans, and the power to make this new kind of regulations. 

"So rapid has been the growth of the movement, that Mr. 
Hoover has appointed an Advisory Committee on Zoning, for the 
Department of Commerce. In a pamphlet called 'A Zoning 
Primer' this committee answers the question 'What is Zoning?' 
In part they say: 

" 'Zoning is the application of common sense and fairness to the public 
regulations governing the use of private real estate . . . Zoning gives every- 
one who lives or does business in a community a chance for the reasonable 
enjoyment of his rights . . .' 

"Mr. Charles Bostrom, Chairman of the Chicago Zoning Com- 
mission, sums up zoning in these words : 

" 'By proper zoning, there will be a place for all, and it will create better 
order, as well as increase property value and stabilize it.' 

"While every phase of these varied definitions and explana- 
tions furnishes a text for an entire article, we must sum up 
shortly. The key words are regulation of height, area and use of 


buildings; control of buildings hereafter erected; protection of 
every property owner ; and stabilizing of property values. 

"It is natural that with so great an increase of the use of the 
police power of the state in regulating 'health, safety, morals and 
general welfare,' discussion should arise as to the segregation of 
the races through the same agency. Several southern cities had 
already passed ordinances to the effect that in any block where a 
half, or in one case, the whole of any block was occupied by white 
families, or by colored families, the whole block should become 
white or colored. The Louisville ordinance is typical and as it has 
been carried for decision to the Supreme Court, a brief outline 
will be of interest, as it sets a precedent. Under this decision of 
our Supreme Court, it seems probable that no zoning plan which 
carried a like provision, would be maintained in the courts. 

"Mr. Justice Day delivered the opinion of the Supreme Court 
in the case of Buchanan v. Warley, 2^5 U. S. 60 . . . 

". . . Simply stated the case is this. A white man sold a 
negro a lot on which to build a home. Under the Louisville 
ordinance (approved May 11, 1914) he could not build, as eight 
of the families in the block were white, and two colored. He 
refused to complete the contract and pay for the lot. Suit was 
brought and the ordinance held valid in the Kentucky courts. 
Appeal was taken to the United States Supreme Court. 

"The Syllabus of the Supreme Court decision states: 

" 'A city ordinance which forbids colored persons to occupy 
houses in blocks where the greater number of houses are occupied 
by white persons, in practical effect prevents the sale of such lots 
in such blocks to colored persons, and is unconstitutional . . . 

" 'A city ordinance forbidding colored persons from occupying houses as 
residences, or places of abode or public assembly, on blocks where the 
majority of the houses are occupied by white persons for those purposes, 
and in like manner forbidding white persons when conditions of occupancy 
are reversed, and which bases the interdiction on color and nothing more, 
passes the legitimate bounds of police power and invades the civil right to 
acquire, enjoy and use property, which is guaranteed in equal measure to all 
citizens, white or colored, by the Fourteenth Amendment. 

" 'Such a prohibition cannot be sustained upon the grounds that, through 
race segregation, it serves to diminish miscegenation and promote the public 
peace by averting race hostility and conflict, or that it prevents deterioration 
in the value of property owned and occupied by white people; nor does the 
fact that upon its face it applies impartially to both races relieve it from the 


vice of discrimination or obviate the objection that it deprives of property 
without due process of law. 165 Kentucky 559, reversed.' 

"In stating the opinion of the Supreme Court, Mr. Justice 
Day said: 

" The authority of the state to pass laws in the exercise of the police 
power, having for their object the promotion of the public health, safety 
and welfare is very broad as has been affirmed in numerous and recent 
decisions of this Court . . . But it is equally well established that the 
police power, broad as it is, cannot justify the passage of a law or ordinance 
which runs counter to the Constitution . . . 

" 'The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The Fourteenth 
Amendment protects life, liberty, and property from invasion by the states 
without due process of law. Property is more than the mere thing which 
the person owns. It is elementary that it includes the right to acquire, use, 
and dispose of it. The Constitution protects these essential attributes of 
property . . . 

" True it is that the dominion over property springing from ownership 
is not absolute and unqualified. It ... may be controlled in the exercise of 
the police power in the interest of public health, convenience, or wel- 
fare . . . The concrete question here is, may the occupancy of property be 
invaded by the states, or by one of its municipalities.' 

"Justice Day then discusses at length the amendments after the 
Civil War, and the reasons for their adoption. He makes the 
point that while the principal purpose was to protect persons of 
color, the broad language used was deemed sufficient to protect all 
persons, white or black, against discriminating legislation by the 
states. This is now the settled law. He concludes : 

" 'We think this attempt to prevent the alienation of the property in ques- 
tion to a person of color was not a legitimate exercise of the police power 
of the state, and is in direct violation of the fundamental law enacted in the 
Fourteenth Amendment . . .' 

"The precedent is clear, and similar ordinances passed in Bal- 
timore,* in Atlanta, and other southern cities, while not carried 
to the Supreme Court were voided after this decision. It is also 
clear that any zoning plan, which might go beyond the proper 
exercise of the police power for the general health, safety, morals 
and welfare, would be subject to a like decision from the Supreme 

"The arguments for and against ordinances which attempt to 

* See Jackson v. State, 132 Md. (1918) 311; and Cary v. Atlanta, 
143 Ga. 192. 


segregate white and colored, are indicative of the problems which 
suggest them. The principal contention is that when the pro- 
hibition applies equally to white persons in blocks where colored 
persons predominate or the opposite, there is no discrimination. 
But exceptions immediately become desirable. For instance, the 
Atlanta ordinance provided: 

'that nothing in either of the preceding sections shall be construed or defined 
to prevent domestic servants from residing in the house, or building, 
wherein they are employed, or upon the same lots with the houses or 
buildings which they serve.' 

"It is argued that such an ordinance does not interfere with 
ownership, but merely regulates the occupancy of the property. 

"It is argued that every police regulation necessarily restrains, 
limits or destroys certain personal or property rights, or both, but 
that this does not make the law unequal in the legal sense, as the 
inequalities arise from matters with which the law has no concern, 
such as geographical location, economic or educational condi- 
tions, etc. 

"Railroad, street car, and school regulations were cited in many 
cases which had been taken into various courts, but the Supreme 
Court ruled that they did not apply. 

"In any city which is considering a zoning ordinance, the matter 
is of deep interest to Negroes. Whether they own property or 
not, they are concerned with the uses of the districts in which they 
live, and of the surrounding districts. ' The whole movement is 
new, its technique is in the making, and since a zoning plan when 
it is enacted affects every piece of property, it also affects every 
citizen in his home surroundings, and in his working conditions. 
If our cities are to overcome the evils of congestion, of fluctuations 
of property values, it is of concern to every citizen to study the 
zoning plans, and know exactly what they will do. A zoning plan 
affords security in property owning to the poor man, which the 
rich man has provided for himself through private restrictions and 
large expenditures. It puts money into the savings of workers, 
and is well worth a little time spent in keeping in touch with the 
authorities who are charged with the preparation of the basic 
maps. After the ordinance is passed, it is too late/' xl 

11 Headley, Madge, "Citizen Rights and Community Rights," Opportunity, 
January, 1923, Vol. 1, pp. 12-14. 


Rural Segregation 

"Mr. Clarence Poe, editor of the Progressive Farmer, has lately 
been advocating the enactment of a statute by the General As- 
sembly of North Carolina providing that, wherever the greatest 
part of the land acreage in any given district is owned by one 
race, a majority of the voters in such a district may say that in 
the future no land shall be sold to a person of a different race, 
provided such action is approved or allowed by a reviewing judge 
or board of county commissioners. 

"The statute that Mr. Poe suggests would not impose segrega- 
tion upon any district but, like the Virginia city segregation statute, 
would simply enable any given district, so desiring, to promote the 
segregation of the races. Nor would action by any district under 
this enabling statute necessarily mean actual segregation. Sup- 
pose, for instance, a given district should vote that no additional 
land should be sold to Negroes. The Negro landowners in that 
community would be permitted to hold on to their property during 
their life and leave it to their heirs at death. The colored tenants 
could, in so far as the law provided, remain indefinitely on the 
land, and the white landowners might still rent their land to colored 
tenants. There is no intimation as to the size of the district, 
whether it would be the size of a local school-tax district or of a 
township or a county or of a larger area. This, presumably, 
would be left entirely with the voters ... p. 107. 

"The legal and constitutional issues involved in segregation are 
not to be considered in this article. ... If rural segregation, after 
the plan suggested, is right in principle, then it will be possible 
to frame a statute that will conform to constitutional limitations. 
If, on the other hand, it is not right in principle, then the fact 
that a statute can be drawn to satisfy the constitution would not 
justify its adoption. In other words, the more important question 
about a segregation statute is not whether it is constitutional but 
whether it is just. 

"If in the matter of segregation one had only to consider the 
industrial and social welfare of the white farmers, then one set 
of issues would arise. But segregation has a moral aspect as well 
as an industrial and social aspect, and the welfare of the colored 
people as well as of the white has to be considered, which con- 
siderably modifies these issues. If segregation cannot be justified 


as being morally right and for the best interests of both races, 
then it cannot be justified as being sound, in the long run, either 
in its economic or in its social aspects . . . pp. 108-109. 

"If the next General Assembly were to enact an enabling statute 
and then some community in North Carolina were to take action 
under it, one of two things would happen as regards the Negroes 
already on the land. As landowners or as tenants, they would 
either live on there as heretofore or else they would move into 
some other community. The latter course is what the advocates 
of segregation would expect the Negroes to adopt . . . pp. 110- 

"If the removal of the Negroes from the segregation district 
would mean the coming of desirable white settlers, then the in- 
dustrial advantages claimed would, no doubt, follow. But it is 
very doubtful if even the removal of the Negro altogether from 
the South would attract an appreciable number of desirable white 
settlers. The immigration statistics show that the majority of our 
immigrants now are not such as would be absorbed into the 
white life of the South. The immigrants actually coming are 
more illiterate and, in many cases, as superstitious as the Negroes 
themselves. Would such immigrants, whom we do not need, or 
better ones, whom we do need, be willing to move into a com- 
munity that had by legislation said that one element of its popula- 
tion could not buy or own land except under certain conditions? 
. . . p. 111. 

"But suppose segregation did not result in the Negro's with- 
drawal from the white community. Suppose the Negro land- 
owner determined to live the balance of his days on his land and 
then hand it down to his children and the Negro tenant gave up 
any idea he might have had of acquiring land of his own. Such 
an action on the part of the resident Negroes in the white com- 
munity would absolutely frustrate the efforts of the white people 
to obtain the benefits argued for segregation. The social life of 
the white people would not be more satisfactory. The cooperative 
efforts would still be handicapped. Every harm that the presence 
of the Negro in the community now causes would be augmented 
then because the Negro tenant, with all incentive to accumulate 
property taken away from him, would become more thriftless and 
trifling than ever . . . p. 112. 

"The effect of segregation by legislation upon the relations be- 


tween the races would probably be more portentous than that 
upon the industrial or moral life of either race. Race prejudice 
would certainly be aroused by the agitation that would be necessary 
to get an enabling act passed by our General Assembly. The 
larger landholders of the state, who deserve some consideration 
even if not as much as the more numerous class of small farmers, 
would oppose it on the ground that it would interfere with their 
labor supply. Other white people would oppose it because they 
would believe it morally wrong in that it would not be giving 
the Negro a square deal. The whole country outside of the South 
would side with the Negro and put the state in the light of having 
disfranchized the Negro in order to perpetrate discriminations 
against him. 

"A different sort of race feeling would be aroused by rural 
segregation agitation than by any previous legislation. Hereto- 
fore race legislation has been statewide. Witness the suffrage 
amendment, the separate school and the Jim Crow laws. But in 
the case of segregation each community would have to take action 
for itself. The white farmers of a neighborhood would decide 
that they would not let any more colored farmers buy land in that 
neighborhood. Thus the white people and Negroes who have been 
living side by side in amicable relations all their lives would find 
themselves arrayed in opposing camps. The most bitter feeling in 
the world is that of one individual against another individual. 
The next most bitter feeling is that of one family against another 
as shown by the Kentucky feuds that last for generations. And 
the next in the order of intensity is a neighborhood hostility. So 
long as the white people as a race have their feelings aroused 
against the colored people as a race, this impersonal hostility is 
not apt to cause any combustion. When the white people and the 
colored people of any single neighborhood are arrayed on opposite 
sides in a race issue, then a consuming flame of race feeling is apt 
to start. The truth of this is shown by every race riot and every 
instance of mob violence in the history of the country. It has 
started by some individual or some group of individuals doing 
something to displease the other race. Because segregation would, 
in the end, be a neighborhood affair, race feeling would be all the 
more bitter. If segregation meant that the Negroes were to be 
taken bodily out of the community and carried to a place where 
they would never be heard of any more, the race feeling might 


be tolerable. But under the suggested plan the Negroes would 
simply be urged to congregate in a community to themselves lying 
alongside the white community where the passions of the criminal 
and vicious element of both races would be fed by the sight of 
each other . . . pp. 114-115. 

"This is probably the most delicate race issue that has arisen 
since Emancipation because it involves fundamental rights. Vot- 
ing, for instance, is a privilege ; but the right to hold property is 
inherent in citizenship and should not be tampered with without 
great caution. 

"I am heartily in favor of the next General Assembly's creating 
a commission to investigate rural race problems. Such a com- 
mission would probably have been created by the last legislature 
if the bodies urging its creation had not already unanimously 
committed themselves to the policy of segregation. In other 
words, they announced their conclusion before they had waited 
for an investigation. An impartial investigation may show that 
the white people are not leaving their farms because of the pres- 
ence of the Negro or that segregation is not the best way of reduc- 
ing race relations to a proper and permanent basis. Let us, there- 
fore, have a complete and accurate diagnosis before we prescribe 
such a drastic remedy as rural segregation by legislation." 

pp. 116-117. 12 

* * * * * 

"In the April issue of The South Atlantic Quarterly, my friend, 
Mr. Gilbert T. Stephenson, presents some objections to the plan 
for land segregation between the races that I have been advocat- 
ing and which was unanimously endorsed by the last meeting of 
the North Carolina State Farmers' Union ... p. 207. 

"And yet I must say that nearly a year of discussion and 
criticism has only convinced me of the essential soundness of the 
plan I first formally outlined last August, namely : 

'That wherever the greater part of the land acreage in any given district 
that may be laid off is owned by one race a majority of the voters in such 
a district should have the right to say, if they wish, that in future no land 
shall be sold to a person of a different race provided such action is approved 
or allowed (as* being justified by considerations of the peace, protection and 

12 Stephenson, Gilbert T., "The Segregation of the White and Negro Races 
in Rural Communities of North Carolina," The South Atlantic Quarterly, 
April, 1914, Vol. 13, pp. 107-117. 


social life of the community) by a reviewing judge or board of county com- 

"The proposition, in fact, looks rather to white segregation than 
Negro segregation, providing only that where Negroes cease to 
become laborers or renters and become independent land owners 
working for themselves, they should buy land in communities to 
themselves or at least apart from those communities which are, 
and wish to remain, predominantly white. 

"Seven reasons I have given for favoring the plan may also be 
briefly repeated : 

1. Because it is necessary to give our white farmers and their families 
a satisfying social life. 

2. Because it will insure them greater safety and protection. 

3. Because it will give both races better schools, churches, and all the 
agencies of a richer community life. 

4. Because it will open the way to both races for rural cooperation and 
cooperative enterprises work in which it is almost impossible for whites 
and blacks to work together successfully. 

5. Because it will improve moral conditions in the relations of the races. 

6. Because it will give the rural South what it most sorely needs a 
greater proportion of white people, (1) by stopping the crowding out of 
the white farmers by Negroes, and (2) by providing all-white communi- 
ties such as white people from other sections will be willing to move into. 

7. Because ambitious young white men will then be willing to go into 
these all-white communities as tenants, work and save, and become good 
farmers and good citizens, whereas they are unwilling to go into mixed 
communities and compete with Negro tenants. 

"As to the question why a law is needed, instead of leaving the 
whole matter to be settled by public opinion, that is also quickly 
answered. We need a law 

1. So as to let each race know definitely its own bounds and therefore 
better respect the rights of the other race; and 

2. To protect white communities from the white landlord who lives away 
from the community and doesn't care how many Negroes he sells land to 
simply because he doesn't have to live among them himself and doesn't 
care about anybody else's condition ... p. 208. 

"The chief point at which I have been misunderstood and the 
chief point at which Mr. Stephenson misunderstands me is in my 
attitude toward the Negro the motive of this land segregation 
movement . . . My whole aim in this matter has been to develop 
a constructive policy to the help of the white man and not a 
destructive policy to the hurt of the Negro ... p. 209. 


"But and here comes the rub I also believe in helping and 
being just to the working white man of the South whose ancestors 
through centuries of toil wrought out the civilization which we 
enjoy the civilization, moreover, to which the Negro himself 
owes the very peace, safety, and prosperity he enjoys. And years 
of earnest study have convinced me that all in all the handicapped 
man, the disadvantaged man, in the rural South today is not the 
Negro, but the laboring white man who must compete industrially 
with a race with lower living standards and whose white social 
life is impoverished if not imperilled by the universal sandwiching 
of white and Negro homes. This is the situation that confronts 
us. The Negroes not only have an advantage over the white 
farmer in that they are able to buy land and make crops on a 
scale of living, clothing, and housing that the respectable white 
farmer and his family cannot meet, but the Negroes have the addi- 
tional advantage that where Negroes begin to outnumber the 
whites, or are of bad character, the whites may be forced to sur- 
render the whole community to the Negroes because there is no 
longer an adequate white social life or else for reasons of safety. 
This has happened in thousands of cases. 

"Let us consider conditions briefly. Booker Washington him- 
self boasts that in every southern state east of the Mississippi, 
except Florida, the percentage of Negroes on the farms is increas- 
ing: The Negroes are gaining on the whites proportionately and 
rural districts are becoming blacker instead of whiter. More- 
over, not only are the rural sections of the South getting blacker 
instead of whiter but the Negroes are gaining most rapidly in 
farm ownership, 17 per cent gain in Negro ownership to 12 per 
cent in white, while most sinister fact of all it is the white 
farmers who are fastest becoming a tenant class (188,000 gain 
in white tenants or 27 per cent, and only 118,000 gain in Negro 
tenants or 21 per cent). 

"Now if the Negroes were gaining this advantage by virtue of 
a superior character and civilization, we should have no word of 
protest. But they are not. They are gaining chiefly because they 
are nearer the savage stage of man's development because they 
will live in shabbier houses, eat meaner food, wear dirtier clothes, 
than men will do among whom the living standards of a white 
civilization are maintained and because new Negro landowners 
crowd in among white farm families in districts without police 


protection and thus frequently force these white farmers to move 
away. It's an unfair advantage that is, if we assume that the 
white man has a right to protect his civilization and I say that 
simply as a matter of fairness to the white man and not of unfair- 
ness to the Negro, the best thought of the South should be given 
to working out a remedy. We should give a reasonable propor- 
tion of rural white communities, communities owned by our white 
farmers and their families, the right to segregate themselves, the 
right to say (under reasonable restrictions) that no more land in 
such communities should be sold to Negroes or else some other 
solution must be found . . . pp. 209-210. 

"The only man in the South today whose civilization and whose 
future are really imperilled mark my words is the small white 
farmer and white workingman." p. 21 1. 13 

13 Poe, Clarence, "Rural Land Segregation Between Whites and Negroes : 
A Reply to Mr. Stephenson," The South Atlantic Quarterly, July, 1914, Vol. 
13, pp. 207-212. 




"Woofter and the Chicago Race Commission both found that 
the migration and consequent scarcity of houses and high rents had 
led to a marked increase in home ownership among Negroes in 
the North . . ." p. 166. 1 

* * * * * 

All Homes 
Per Cent Owned 1920 


"Several colored people here were reported as owning not only 
the home in which they live but also other pieces of property 
which are rented either to members of their own race or to others. 
Several of the questionnaires returned made note of the fact that 
the family was renting from a colored landlord." : 


City Per 

Philadelphia , 
New York 

Colored Homes 
Cent Owned 1920 







New Orleans 



Worcester . 

1 Kennedy Louise Venable, The Negro Peasant Turns Cityward, New 

^Mtf SeAfS 
League,' Nw York, 1930. 


Chicago, Illinois 

"Among these 467 families of unskilled wage earners, 130 fami- 
lies owned or were buying their own homes. . . ." p. 111. 3 

See quotation from E. Franklin Frazier's The Negro Family in 
Chicago in Chapter IV, p. 86. 

Detroit, Michigan 

"In the matter of home ownership 657 said 'that they did not 
own their own homes/ 312 said 'yes* and 21 gave no answers. Of 
the 312 owning their homes, 81 owned them free; 119 were on 
contract; and 55 were mortgaged. Fifty-seven did not give the 
type of ownership. 

Value of Houses Owned by Negroes 

$20,000 .................. 1 $5,000 .................... 27 

15,000 ..................... 6 4,000 ..................... 22 

10,000 .................... 23 3,000 ..................... 41 

8,000 .................... 38 2,000 ..................... 26 

7,000 ..................... 21 1,000 ..................... 23 

6,000 ..................... 24 500 ................ ...... 3 

The average value of the 255 houses given is $5,323." 4 
New York, New York 

"The following statement is indicative of the amount of real 
property that has been acquired in Harlem: 'Fifteen years ago, 
apparently one-half dozen colored men owned real property in 
Manhattan, I am informed by John E. Nail, a successful colored 
real estate man. in Harlem. Today, the Negro owned and operated 
realty, conservatively estimated, would amount to $60,000,000. 
However, the community faces a very unique difficulty. The 
neighborhood is confronted with the question of mortgages matur- 
ing. There is practically no opening to the community for re- 

8 Houghteling, Leila, The Income and Standard of Living of Unskilled 
Laborers in Chicago, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1927. 

* The Negro in Detroit, Prepared for the Mayor's Interracial Committee, 
Detroit Bureau of Governmental Research, Inc., 1926, (Mimeographed.) 
(Section V, Housing.) 


placement. Some time ago a local real estate manager informed 
the community that heads of large lending institutions are desirous 
of withdrawing their funds. When extensions are granted on 
mortgages, their terms are of such a nature that they make them 
burdensome for owners to carry the vital obligations. Years ago 
it was understood that mortgage accommodations could not be 
furnished in this section of the city, because in this community 
the colored tenant was not a reliable purchaser of property. In 
the past five years, however, he has become an owner and ac- 
quired more property. It is estimated that 75 per cent of the real 
estate in this community is under colored control. The prices 
paid, however, have not always been fair. The housing shortage 
affected the price of houses as well as the rental. Old and de- 
teriorated houses shared in the increasing valuation, and found 
purchasers who will have to struggle for years before they will 
own their homes free from debt. Where at some stage in the 
process a building which has formerly been closed to Negroes has 
been offered to tenants of that race, the change in real estate rental 
rates receives added explanation. 

"Families have found that only by purchasing a home could 
they be at all assured of a place in which to live at a cost which 
would not be completely beyond their control or calculation." 5 

Richmond, Virginia 

"Unfortunately, the public records do not show the actual num- 
ber of Negro-owned homes in Richmond. The Survey figures 
show that in the Jackson Ward district substantially 18 per cent 
are buyers or owners and 82 per cent renters. In the Fulton dis- 
trict substantially 60 per cent are renters, and 40 per cent buyers 
or owners. This may be restated for the two districts in the 1,036 
families where the information was gotten, thus: Renters 787, 
or 76 per cent buyers or owners 249, or 24 per cent. From the 
office of the City Commissioner of Revenue it was learned that 
the value of white-owned property in Lee Ward is $81,789,710 
and of Negro-owned property $828,980. As Lee Ward is the 
legal designation for the district popularly referred td in Rich- 

5 Reid, Ira DeA., Twenty-four Hundred Negro Families in Harlem, New 
York, New York Urban League, 1927. 


mond as Jackson Ward, and as a large percentage of the survey 
families actually lived in Lee Ward it may be seen at a glance that 
much Negro rental property is white owned. No effort was made 
to secure this particular information from the families interviewed 
as it is well known that poor people are often behind in their rent 
and are afraid to discuss their landlords with strangers. The 
Knight study in 1927 showed renters 61 per cent and owners 39 
per cent." pp. 71-72. 6 


Percentage of Home Ownership (Outright or Buying) 
Among Negroes in Pennsylvania * 

District Percentage 

Pennsylvania as a whole ............................... ............ 36.4 

Philadelphia ...................................................... 15 

Pittsburgh ................................ . . ...................... 11 

Steel Mills District No. 1 ........................................ 31 

Pittsburgh District exclusive of Pittsburgh 
Philadelphia District .............................................. 47.5 

Norristown, etc. 
Steel Mills District No. 2 ......................................... 13.2 

Steel Mills District No. 4 ........................................ 34.5 

Coatesville, Reading 
Western Bituminous Coal District ....... ..... ....... ...... .... 38.5 

Farrell, New Castle 
Steel Mills District No. 3 ............... .......................... 10 

Altoona, Johnstown 
Central South Farm Area ........... ........ ......... ...... 13 

York, etc. 
Southwest Farm Area ............ . ____ ....... ..... .......... 37 

Connellsville, Uniontown 
Central Bituminous Coal District .................. .............. 17.7 

Anthracite Coal District .......... ......... . . . . ............... 13.3 

Scranton, etc. 
Slate and Cement District ....... ..... ....... .................. 7.5 

Al lento wn, Bethlehem 
Northern Tier ................ ......... ........... .............. 35.5 

Erie, Bradford 

* Survey by the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare, 1925. 

"Of the Negro families of Pennsylvania investigated in this 
survey 36.3 per cent owned or were buying their homes. The 

8 "The Negro in Richmond, Virginia," Report of the Negro Welfare Sur- 
vey Committee, Richmond Council of Social Agencies, 1929. 


percentage of home ownership varies, of course, according to the 
various districts. 

"The Bureau of Census states that there were 30,995 Negro 
families in Philadelphia in 1920. Of this number 26,984 oc- 
cupied rented homes, and 3,278 owned the homes they occupied." 7 

Washington, D. C. 

"Negroes in Washington have always made prodigious efforts to 
secure homes of their own, chiefly on account of the limited num- 
ber of houses available and the insecurity involved in renting. 
Homes for rent to Negroes are not as plentiful as they are for 
white people ; nor can the renter be certain of always being able to 
locate in desirable communities. Then, too, the rapid increases in 
the Negro population in Washington during the past fifteen years 
have enhanced this 'scramble' for homes. White real estate and 
construction companies have readily responded to this home pur- 
chasing impulse and have erected hundreds of new private homes 
and apartments for colored people. These real estate companies 
report the purchase price of the average home that is acquired by 
Negroes is between $6,000 and $7,000. Many of the homes that 
were purchased several years ago, when real estate values were 
comparatively low, were secured for prices that ranged from $1,000 
to $4,000. The average price of Type B homes is between $15,000 
and $20,000. Five Negro property owners evaluated their homes 
at $25,000 and thirteen at $20,000. 

"The average initial cash payment on the $7,000 home is $500 
with the monthly payments ranging from $50 to $65. The $10,- 
000 home requires a cash payment of from $1,000 to $1,500 and 
monthly payments of from $65 to $100. 

"No small number of Negroes were found to have purchased 
their homes at cash payments of from $7,000 to $10,000. They 
were generally persons who had recently arrived from the South, 
where they have conducted prosperous economic enterprises. . . 
p. 127. 

"The results of this survey indicate that ownership and renting 
related not only to certain definite areas of the .city, but are closely 
correlated with definite social blocks. And it is possible, there- 
fore, to refer to certain blocks as those of 'home owners' or 

7 Washington, Forrester B., Negro Survey of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, 
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1927. 


'tenants.' In some of these social blocks, one block is solidly oc- 
cupied by renters. This geographical distribution of renters and 
owners is shown on the accompanying spot map. 8 

"For a city of its size, Washington has a rather high percentage 
of home owners. The facts which were taken from a study of 
5,450 homes show that 2,536 or 46.5 per cent, were owned or 
were being purchased. Whereas, 2,914 or 53.4 per cent were 
rented. The fact that approximately one-half of the homes oc- 
cupied by Negroes, in the Northwest and Southwest sections of 
the city, are owned by their occupants is a high commendation of 
their thrift. 

"The home purchasing movement appears to be concentrating 
in the newer sections of the city, chiefly those sections into which 
the Negro population is expanding. There is a relatively small 
amount of property owned by Negroes in Georgetown and South- 
west Washington. In general, the economic status of the Negroes 
in these sections is much lower than that of the Northwest. In 
the Northwest section, property values are generally higher than 
they are in any other part of the city. 

"Several of the homes in which Negro tenants are living are 
owned by Negroes. This fact increases, by a considerable degree, 
the number of homes having Negro ownership. The larger per- 
centage of the rented homes, however, are the property of white 
persons." p. 128. 9 

8 See Map V, op. cit. 

9 Jones, William Henry, The Housing of Negroes in Washington, D. C., 
Washington, Howard University Press, 1929. 



Atlanta, Georgia 

"(The late) Heman E. Perry, founder of Standard Life . . . 
started a homebuilding program in First Ward on the West 
Side. . . The plot contained originally 211 acres. In it have been 
built about 511 homes costing from $3,000 to $15,000, the aver- 
age home costing from $3,000 to $8,000. About 10 per cent of 
the homes are brick. About 90 per cent of the streets in the 
section are paved . . . 

"Perry opened the subdivision in 1923. He sold lots for $350 
without street improvements. The lots were 50 x 150 feet. The 
plot is now about 35 per cent sold. The division is now the prop- 
erty of the National Benefit Life Insurance Company. 

"Perry sold the site to the Booker T. Washington High School 
for a reputed sum of $32,000. The plot is now contained in 16 
acres. The school is one of the most beautiful in the state for 
Negroes, costing $360,000, and has an enrollment of 2,500. C. L. 
Harper heads a faculty of sixty-eight. 

"Not only did Negroes move from the southeast section of 
Atlanta (Auburn Avenue section) to the west division, but promi- 
nent Negroes from other cities in Georgia, and from other states 
moved to Atlanta and built fine brick homes in the division . . ." 1 

Baltimore, Maryland 

"The housing situation in Baltimore does not present such acute 
problems as exist in some other large cities because the migration 
from the South has not been very large and the proportion of 
dwelling houses in relation to inhabitants has been very high for 
many years, and still remains so in spite of some reduction in the 
supply of new homes. This means, as regards the Negroes, that 
the sections in which they live need to be enlarged, that the homes 
which are being vacated by whites who are moving to the suburbs 
shall be made available for Negroes through assistance or pur- 

1 Calvin, Floyd J., "Heman Perry Started Atlanta on its Home Building 
Program " Pittsburgh Courier, October 31, 1931, p. 6, 1st section. 



chases, and that their present homes shall be improved in quality 
and rentals so reduced that congestion may be lessened. 

"To meet these needs a Commission from the Interracial Con- 
ference formed a corporation with power to buy, sell, lease, man- 
age, and build, adopting a title that would be familiar to residents 
of Baltimore where building associations have long flourished, 
The Homemakers' Building and Loan Association. To conform 
to the law and avoid taxation it is strictly mutual, and stock is sold 
on the usual instalment plan or is fully paid in $100 shares. The 
well-to-do whites who have been willing to invest to help in the 
start have taken full paid stock and most of the Negroes are pay- 
ing at the rate of twenty cents a week, although the weekly pay- 
ments are not compulsory and the stock can be paid for as the 
holder is able. Dividends have been paid at the rate of 6 per cent 
from the start, the expenses being very light owing to the clerical 
work being contributed. 

"Half of the directors are white and half are Negroes, the 
theory of the plan being based upon cooperation of the races, and 
three of the whites have had unusual real estate experience. Com- 
bining as it does the provision of a safe form of accumulation 
as well as investment of funds and assistance in securing homes, 
the Association can be of great help to the group in whose interest 
it was formed, showing them at the same time how to use their 
money to help their race. 

"No building has been done yet, and only the strongest and 
least needy have been reached ; but the foundation is being laid for 
extension into wider fields, the wisdom of going slowly and be- 
coming familiar with the problems being recognized by the man- 
agement. One house has been turned into apartments with modern 
facilities, and then houses have been sold to stockholders, at a 
total investment of about $35,000. 

"The significant feature of the work of the Association is in the 
method by which it sells the properties to purchasers, for it does 
not require them to purchase and then mortgage to the Associa- 
tion as is the usual custom. It buys the property itself and puts 
the purchaser in the house with a contract of sale which provides 
for weekly payments on the basis of rent. The following extract 
from the printed circulars will give the details: 

" 'When a stockholder has enough money in the Association to pay the 
expense of legal transfer of a property to the Association, six months' ex- 


penses, (ground rent, taxes, etc.) four weeks' payment of dues and interest 
and a fee for the management of the property until paid for, the Associa- 
tion will endeavor to find and buy a home suitable to his needs and allow 
him to occupy it upon the following terms : 

" 'A contract of sale will be given him in which the Association binds 
itself to deed the property to him when he has paid for it through regular 
weekly payments, each of which shall be made up of the following items: 
One week's proportion of the yearly expenses, such as taxes, ground rent, 
repairs, etc. ; twenty cents dues for each one hundred dollars of the cost of 
the property, and twelve cents for each one hundred dollars, as interest, this 
being subject to reductions as each one hundred dollars is paid on the prin- 
cipal. Under this arrangement payment would be made in full in ten years, 
but the purchaser has the right to pay as much more as he may be able ; and 
the principal payments are increased as the interest decreases, thus lessening 
the time'." 2 

Chicago, Illinois 

"Following the success of those splendid model tenements, the 
Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments in New York made possible 
by the support of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., a new, equally fine 
group of apartments for the better element of the Negro popula- 
tion is now nearing completion in Chicago, as a result of the public 
spirit and intelligent interest in the Negro race of Julius Rosen- 
wald, who for years has been one of the leaders in the movement 
f pr bettering the condition of the Negro in this country. 

"Associating with himself a group of Chicago financiers Mr. 
Rosenwald, after many years study of the subject, some months 
ago started the construction of a group of new modern apartment 
houses occupying an entire city block on the south side of Chicago, 
housing 417 Negro families. 

"The Michigan Boulevard Garden Apartments, as they are 
called, are located on the block from Michigan to Wabash Avenue 
extending from 46th to 47th Street on Chicago's South Side . . . 

"Heretofore in this country there have been very few new 
apartments built commercially for Negro tenants; the Negro has 
had to generally content himself with the cast-off housing accom- 
modations of his white neighbor. This situation is not peculiar 
to Chicago but is to be found in all American cities. As long as 
15 years ago Julius Rosenwald, conscious of these conditions, con- 
templated a housing demonstration in Chicago, with particular 

3 Gary, John R., "Helping Negro Workers to Purchase Homes," Oppor- 
tunity, January, 1924, Vol. 2, pp. 23-24. 


reference to providing decent housing for the Negroes in that city. 
Land was even actually purchased and plans drawn for an attrac- 
tive apartment building ; but after careful estimates of the cost of 
the project, it was found that the financial status of the colored 
people of Chicago was not high enough at that time to enable 
them to pay the rents that would have been necessary to secure a 
fair return on the investment. 

"With the changed economic condition of the colored people 
that has come about in recent years it seemed to Mr. Rosen- 
wald that the time was ripe for the kind of housing demonstra- 
tion that he has had ip mind all these years. Consequently, a 
committee of business men was formed to study the condition of 
the colored people in Chicago and a survey of the higher-income 
group among that race was made under the direction of the Uni- 
versity of Chicago. This showed a need of apartments for col- 
ored people, especially of apartments of three, four and five rooms. 
As a result of this study Mr. Rosenwald determined to go ahead 
with his project and after careful consideration of various sites, 
the present site was selected. 

"On this site, which is admirably situated, a garden apartment 
is now nearing completion. It is five stories in height, covers less 
than 40 per cent of the 6 acres of land involved and when it is 
finished will provide accommodations for 417 families with a total 
of 1,641 rooms. The majority of the apartments are, wisely, of 
four rooms. The apartments are modern in every respect, in fact 
may be said to represent the last word in comforts and even 
luxuries in apartment house living. All apartments are centrally 
heated from a central oil burning heating system. Every apart- 
ment is furnished with an electric refrigerator and with combina- 
tion tub and shower bath. The apartments are being attractively 

"In the center of the block is a large central garden covering 
over 3 acres of land in which good sized trees and many shrubs 
have already been planted. There will be a playground for the 
smaller children in the garden and a sun-room on the roof where 
persons especially needing it can take the sun cure. A modern 
nursery will be conducted in the building directed by competent 
persons. The building is fireproof and the whole project will cost 
over 3 million dollars. 

"Rents, as was to be expected, are somewhat high. The three- 


room apartments which consist of living-room, kitchen, bedroom 
and bath, range from $50 to $54 a month, which is an average of 
$17 to $18 per room. The four-room apartments, containing two 
bedrooms, rent from $58 to $72 a month, which is an average of 
$14.50 to $18 a room. The five-room apartments, with three bed- 
rooms, rent from $68 to $80, or an average of $13.60 to $16 a 
room per month . . ." 3 

* * * * * 

"The first report on the success of the Michigan Boulevard 
Garden Apartments Corporation, Chicago, was made at a small 
supper held in September to celebrate the first anniversary of 
the building. The apartments, which cover the entire city block 
from Forty-sixth to Forty-seventh street and Michigan to Wabash 
Avenue, represent the realization of an idea conceived by Julius 
Rosenwald a demonstration that modern housing facilities for 
Negroes can be provided on a strictly business basis. 

"The report at the end of the first six months of 1930 showed 
an occupancy of approximately 98 per cent. The net income over 
the six months' period was at an annual rate of about 6 per cent 
on capital stock. Depreciation and all other items of expense 
have been charged into the operation and cost of the building. In 
commenting on this, and on the fact that bad debts over the period 
were only one-eighth of 1 per cent, Mr. Rosenwald wrote to the 
assembled guests: 

" 'It is now a little more than a year since the completion of the Apart- 
ments, and I should like to record the feeling of satisfaction which is mine, 
due to the splendid results of our great venture. By results I do not have in 
mind primarily the financial side, important and desirable as that is, but 
more particularly the fine type of tenants, with which you and your asso- 
ciates have been instrumental in filling the building. So far as I have 
learned, there has been little or no friction between the tenants and the 
management, or among the tenants themselves. This is highly gratifying, 
and I think great credit is due to the effectiveness of the Community Asso- 
ciation and the Board of Advisors, who represent the tenants. In taking the 
interest they do, and I have no doubt frequently at considerable sacrifice to 
themselves, the members of this committee are rendering a service not 
only to the occupants of the building but to the Negroes of the entire country. 

" 'Those living in our Apartments have proved that the Negro is a law- 
abiding citizen and a desirable tenant. In so doing they have added to the 
prestige of their race and have tended to encourage the investment of money 

8 "The Negro Coming Into His Own," Housing, June, 1929, Vol. 18, pp. 


in kindred projects, since it is known that such property is likely to receive 
the sort of treatment which might be expected from the best class of people, 
regardless of race. I have been especially impressed with the quiet that pre- 
vailed in the court, which is an indication that those who occupy the build- 
ing must respect one another's rights.' ... p. 151. 

"The Michigan Boulevard Garden Apartments consists of 421 
apartments of three, four and five rooms, representing an invest- 
ment of $2,700,000. The building occupies less than 40 per cent 
of the total space, the remainder being laid out in beautiful gar- 
dens, courts and a playground for small children. Two nursery 
schools are run in connection, one for the children of the mothers 
who work and must be gone all day, and the other for children 
whose mothers are at home. The building personnel, including 
the manager, is made up of Negroes." p. 15 1. 4 

Cincinnati, Ohio 

"The industrial conditions of 1930 have naturally affected the 
activities of the Cincinnati Model Homes Company though not 
to the extent of actual harm. The wage earner with his income 
cut off or curtailed was compelled to economize on housing which 
resulted in an unhealthy shrinkage in the demand for housing. 
Giving up independent housekeeping and sharing living quarters 
with relatives or friends has become aC^practice among various 
industrial classes with the inevitable outcome that all classes of 
dwelling property have suffered. 

"The groups of buildings affected by these conditions were with 
only one exception groups occupied by white people. On one 
post-war group the company lost in vacancies and by defaults 29 
per cent of its annual gross income. Another white group of pre- 
war construction that has always enjoyed full occupancy on ac- 
count of the low rentals and its proximity to industrial establish- 
ments lost 11.5 per cent of its annual income in vacancies and 
defaults. The only colored group that made a poor showing was 
the Carr Street unit consisting of ten two-room and three-room 
apartments and a store entirely due to its location. The Negro 
that seeks our accommodations does not want to live in the West 
End 'bottoms.' 

"Contrasting strikingly with this epidemic of vacancies in our 

4 "Modern Housing for Negroes Brings Gratifying Results," American 
City, November, 1930, Vol. 43, p. 151. 


white groups, we have been experiencing an unabated brisk demand 
for accommodations in our suburban colored groups. We are still 
the recipients of letters, telephone and personal calls from em- 
ployers in behalf of their colored employees. And every time we 
have a vacancy we have a problem on hand: Who shall be the 
privileged one? 

"The contrast in the housing situation of both races was vividly 
demonstrated last summer when we turned over to a Negro ten- 
antry three groups occupied by whites with a total of 75 three- 
and four-room apartments. There was a rush for them and within 
two days 95 per cent of the accommodations were taken. 

"But for the uncertainty of future prices in the construction 
line, conditions seem to favor our reentry on a construction pro- 
gramme for Negroes of course. With our indebtedness off the 
slate, from now on we shall be accumulating annually in cash 
around $25,000 representing depreciation charges and surpluses. 
We shall be confronted with the problem what to do with the 
money. It is not likely that our board of directors will favor active 
investment in other fields than industrial housing a service to the 
community that has become a tradition with us. 

"Houses our builder assures us can now be built at 25 per 
cent less than in 1929, which means a possibility of renting at $7 
or $7.50 a room per month a rather moderate rate for the pres- 
ent ; and, perhaps, for the future. 

"The present depression is not a hindrance. We shall benefit 
from the present keen competition among contractors, the eager- 
ness of labor for employment and the anxiety of the material man 
to see cash. It is well to remember that our major activities 
were entered upon in 1914 a year with free soup kitchens open 
in all large cities of this country. 

". . , Our total rental income for 1930 amounted to $105,585.97 
or close to $2,000 less than in 1929. The losses in 
vacancies and by defaults were $6,472.92 and represent 5.7 per 
cent of the gross rental income, as against 2.6 per cent in 1929. 
Over $2,000 was lost in the above mentioned three groups in the 
interim between the white and colored occupancy. Forty per 
cent of the white tenants in these three groups took advantage 
of the change and carried off half or the whole of the last month's 
rent, amounting to $323.80. Some of them argued that they were 
put to the inconvenience and expense through no default of theirs 


and, therefore, were entitled to some recompense in free rental. 
In view of the industrial conditions, and, perhaps, because of some 
merit in the argument, we did not contest that claim. 

"Examining our losses along racial lines, we find the losses in 

Slightly over 1 per cent in the colored groups 

Almost 13 per cent in the white groups 

Losses by default 2.2 per cent in the colored groups 

Losses by default 1.8 per cent in the white groups 

"If we exclude losses by default in the Braxton Campbell Court 
groups the group turned over to Negroes which occurred under 
peculiar circumstances, the default among the white groups was 
1 per cent of their annual rentals, or five times greater than among 
the Negro groups. 

"While this favorable showing is due in great measure to the 
type of Negro we have been housing, in justice to the white man 
we must not overlook his greater mobility. In our experience we 
find three times as many whites move as Negroes. Proportion- 
ately, three times as many white tenants are exposed to the tempta- 
tion to move without paying the last instalment of rent. We 
wonder if the turn-over were as great among Negroes as among 
whites, whether the figures would favor the Negro. 

"This is further reflected in the delinquent list as of December 
31st last. There the Negro appears with 1.7 per cent of his annual 
rentals delinquent, while the white man appears with only 0.8 per 

"The net results of the different groups vary from 1.1 per cent 
to 12 per cent. Eight groups netted us over 6 per cent; and eight 
below the 6 per cent level. All groups together netted a fraction 
over 5 per cent on the original investment. 

". . . Our direct expenses for all groups were $57,389.55. 
Excluding depreciation which is a fixed book charge, taxes (over 
which we have no control), insurance and other items that do not 
enter into maintenance proper, we find the cost of upkeep, includ- 
ing water, in 1930 was $14.90 per room, as against $14.91 in 1929; 
$15.16 in 1928; $16.73 in 1927; $11.79 in 1926; and $11.50 in 

"The maintenance cost would have been less, but the changes 
of tenantry in the above-mentioned groups entailed quite an ex- 
penditure on interior renovating. Again, in 1930, 40 per cent of 


our buildings received two coats of paint, as against 9 per cent of 
our holdings in 1929. 

"So far there is no standard yard stick that can be applied to our 
cost of maintenance in order to determine whether our cost of 
operation is economic or extravagant. Our aim, though, must be 
to maintain a good standard of upkeep. We are constantly bearing 
in mind that our problem is as much a human one as it is a com- 
mercial one perhaps, more so. The elevating influence of a high 
standard of upkeep on the human side of the problem cannot be 
overestimated. Where respectability ends, slum conditions begin. 
Undoubtedly our own standards have risen with years of experi- 
ence and service. And it is rather a hopeful sign that we have 
not grown stale and are marching with the times . . ." 5 

New York, New York 

"But now have come the spacious garden apartments erected 
in Harlem by Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. The dominant note is 
simplicity, the decorative touches being few but judiciously dis- 
posed so as to break up the monotony of the plain wall surface. 
Complete harmony in the various materials employed is happily 
achieved. In the sparing use of carving, of wrought iron, etc., it 
was the designer's aim to employ the best craftsmanship and in 
each instance to concentrate the limited allowance on one point of 

"Two rooms deep, the six independent buildings are set around 
the outside of a large rectangle, the interior being devoted to 
gardens. Every room has abundant access to sunlight and fresh 
air. In the center of the gardens is a play space where the little 
children may enjoy wholesome recreation under ideal conditions. 
They even have a clubroom of their own. What better safeguards 
against juvenile deinquency? 

"All materials were bought shrewdly and are of good quality. 
The structures are sound and durable, without gaudy ornamenta- 
tion. The entire project illustrates the truism that large-scale 
operations are the most economical . . ." p. 419. 6 

5 Ginberg, Harris, "Interesting Facts About Model Houses and Their 
Tenants," Housing, March, 1931, Vol. 20, pp. 69-73. 

8 Bruce, Roscoe Conkling, "The Dunbar Apartment House, An Adven- 
ture in Community Building," Southern Workman, October, 1931, Vol. 60, 
pp. 417-428. 


"To acquire in the traditional manner a deed to an individual 
house on the Island of Manhattan is now quite impossible for 
such of us as remain in the lower-wage brackets, so costly are land, 
union labor and building materials, but basically land. 

"The cooperative apartment house on our nice little, tight little 
island offers at this hour the only practicable approach to home 
ownership. No individual tenant-subscriber's interest can be 
represented by a deed, for that would confer title from the center 
of the earth to the zenith, nullifying the rights of tenant-sub- 
scribers above and below. So, in lieu of the traditional deed to the 
home, one begins the purchase on a liberal instalment plan of the 
common stock of the housing corporation, leasing his apartment 
home. The basic principle is hoary with age, representing no 
innovation in the English law. And that apartment home is the 
man's castle, justifiably appealing to the same deep instincts and 
giving rise to the same exalted sentiments which motivated that 
simple but never to be forgotten song, Home, Sweet Home, in 
John Howard Payne's otherwise utterly forgotten opera, Clan, 
The Maid of Milan. 

"At the beautiful and modern Paul Laurence Dunbar Apart- 
ments with their spacious gardens, it is upon the character of the 
applicant, rather than upon his financial resources, that the cor- 
poration in the main relies. For, the down payment is only fifty 
dollars per room and even that may now be distributed over as 
long a period as three years. The median wage of the initial 511 
tenant-subscribers was only $148.86 per month; it is, of course, 
appreciably less today. The project has, nevertheless, proved to 
be a sound and safe investment, our beloved founder, Mr. John 
D. Rockefeller, Jr., limiting his return upon the capital outlay to 
S l /2 per cent. All this without tax exemption or government sub- 
sidy of any kind. 

"Now, since such results have been demonstrated to be attain- 
able even with families selected from the community of color, the 
most disadvantaged group in American life, the flow of capital 
into large-scale housing projects for the masses of the American 
people, that is to say, income groups so low that they must look 
to others to provide the initial capital outlay, should and, we think, 
will be accelerated. Granted an efficient and social-minded man- 
agement, the capitalist has here an altogether safe, gratifying, 
long-term investment. 


"Intangibles are easily underrated. But, it is the psychic ele- 
ment that makes practicable the sale of cooperative apartment 
homes at a lower payment per room per month (at the Dunbar an 
average of $14.50) than the very same apartments can be rented 
to the very same people. The crux of the matter is that a man's 
attitude toward that which he feels to be his own, is very different 
in practice from his attitude toward that which he knows to be his 
landlord's. At the Dunbar one enriches himself not the land- 
lord. And vandalism is unknown. 

"Every dollar the tenant-subscriber pays into his cooperative 
increases his stake in the venture, impelling him to remain in his 
apartment home, if humanly possible, until the very end of his sub- 
scription agreement, though it be thirty years. Hence, there 
occurs a minimum tenant-subscriber turnover each and every 
year. We have entered upon our fifth year of operation and 
76 per cent of our original tenant-subscribers are still with us. 

"At the Dunbar we have a homogeneous group, a basic requisite, 
actual experience seems to indicate, to the continuing success of 
any cooperative housing project. 

"Now, when the world of industry and commerce is unex- 
pectedly overwhelmed with a depression as it is today, the tenant- 
subscriber in a cooperative housing project such as the Paul 
Laurence Dunbar Apartment quickly realizes the advantageousness 
of his position. This is true whether he remains in the project 
or, on due notice, for any reason vacates. 

"Had he been merely paying rent in a commercial apartment 
house, he would have nought but a collection of worthless rent 
receipts and not one penny of accumulated savings. But, at the 
Dunbar the tenant-subscriber, for example, to the average 5-room 
apartment February 1, 1928, had, on January 31, 1932, or four 
years later, accumulated savings amounting to $667.10. Though 
eager to work, should he nevertheless be out of a job for no fault 
of his own and hence unable to make any monthly payment for a 
while, these savings constitute a very substantial margin of safety. 
If he secures the consent of the social-minded corporation, he may 
still carry on. And in such case the corporation could consent 
without risking financial loss. 

"No matter what a tenant-subscriber's accumulated savings may 
amount to at any time, his lease and subscription agreement speci- 
fies that every monthly payment be met in full upon the due date. 


He is buying his apartment home not renting it. So, it is just 
as much if not more in his interest to make every payment on 
or before the due date, as in his landlord's. 

"From the point of view of the capitalist as well as that of the 
tenant-subscriber, the accumulated savings in the cooperative con- 
stitute, then, a solid assurance. When commercial apartment 
houses in the same region are largely vacant and in numerous 
instances the landlords are brought face to face with bankruptcy, 
the investor in the cooperative housing project is confronted with 
only a negligible number of vacancies at the Dunbar not yet, in 
spite of the depression, as many as 6 per cent. With an alert and 
efficient management, he has every reasonable assurance against 
financial loss, since depressions do not last forever." 7 

7 Bruce, Roscoe Conkling, The Idea of Cooperative Housing as Exempli- 
fied by The Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments in New York City, pre- 
pared for the Committee on Negro Housing. 



"Home improvement never ends. It does not matter how well 
built or how well kept a community, or how attractive its homes 
and gardens, or how carefully planned the city, there are always 
some houses in need of improvement. Our standards of living 
also are increasing. Old standards are no longer tolerable. New 
knowledge with regard to health, sanitation, ventilation, and 
fatigue indicates the need of raising standards if we are to pro- 
mote a wholesome family life and guard the health of children. 
Poor food, inadequate diet, bad ventilation, undue fatigue in 
household operations, obviously react on the health of the entire 
family. So it is essential to remodel, modernize, and repair our 
houses, and provide adequate ventilation and sunlight, eliminate 
inconveniences and the necessity for long hours of labor, if we 
are to boast of an America of good homes. 

"Negro citizens have not been backward in recognizing the 
necessity and the benefits to be derived from homes of a desirable 
standard. In the Better Homes campaign of 1931, 925 Negro 
leaders served as state, county, district and community chairmen 
in Better Homes campaigns. They organized the Negro citizens 
of their own communities and carried on home improvement cam- 
paigns, which in most instances resulted in extensive home im- 
provement. Of the 8,418 chairmen (both white and Negro) 
which took part in the campaign of 1931, 925, or nearly 10 per 
cent, were Negro citizens. Fourteen states have been organized 
with Negro citizens as state leaders. Eleven districts and 130 
counties have similar organizations. In addition, in 770 cities, 
towns and villages, Negro leaders have been selected to carry on 
this home improvement work. In 1928, three years previous, 
only 229 Negro chairmen were active in this work and in 1929 
this number had increased to 388. Two years later in 1931, over 
500 Negroes were added to this small band which now nearly 
approaches a thousand in number. This means that the number of 
Negro chairmen has become ten times as great over a period of 
six years from 1926 to 1931. 

"Arkansas alone boasted of 243 Negro chairmen, Mississippi 



of 97, Alabama of 76, and both Texas and Virginia of more than 
fifty. Other states were less in number. 

"In most of the communities represented by Negro leaders, Bet- 
ter Homes campaigns are held. It is the endeavor of the leader and 
the Better Homes committee which this leader organized, to carry 
on these campaigns and to disseminate education on methods and 
means of home improvement. Sometimes an actual demonstration 
house is built, equipped, and furnished by the Better Homes com- 
mittee. In some places extensive tours of houses are held which 
show various features of architectural design, house planning, 
equipment, furnishing, planting of the grounds, etc. Hundreds of 
houses are shown in these tours. In still other communities, pro- 
grams, lectures, and exhibits are the essentials of the Better Homes 
demonstration. These programs and lectures take place during 
Better Homes Week, which usually is the last week in April. Dur- 
ing this particular week each community which is organized en- 
deavors to demonstrate the' meaning of home improvement and 
sets itself up as a shining example of the best that may be done 
with the money that is available, for most of these home improve- 
ment projects are conducted by the families themselves. 

"In the 1931 campaign there were 133 Negro major demonstra- 
tion houses that is, 133 houses which were equipped and fur- 
nished and opened to the public during Better Homes Week. 
Some of these were new, some old, some remodeled and modern- 
ized and some improved in various minor ways. All have been 
set aside to show to the families of the communities in which they 
are located the best that can be afforded for the money that is 
to be spent. In addition to the major demonstration houses there 
were 809 houses for Negroes shown in tours. These tours usually 
last a day or a half -day and each house represents a specific fea- 
ture of interest. All of the houses which are demonstrated in 
Better Homes in America campaigns are houses suitable for 
families of modest incomes, and many of them show what is 
meant by low-cost housing; for most of the homes demonstrated 
by Negro families in the 1931 campaign varied from as little as 
$300 without land for a small, old or reconditioned house to those 
which cost as much as $7,500. 

"There were many demonstrations of outstanding merit con- 
ducted by Negro citizens in 1931. Three counties Jefferson, 
Lee and St. Francis Counties in Arkansas as well as the com- 

Courtesy of Better Homes in America 

The kitchen of the demonstration home which the Negroes of Albemarle 
County, Virginia, used to show what energy and paint could do. 

Courtesy of Better Homes in America 

The same kitchen of Charlottesville, Virginia, rest center after it had been 
reconditioned by Negro men, women and children of Albemarle County. 


munity of East St. Louis, Illinois, were awarded honorable men- 
tion for the educational value of their demonstrations and the 
excellent organization work on the part of the Better Homes com- 
mittees. There were, in addition to these, a number of other com- 
munities which studied carefully the housing and homemaking 
needs of the community and endeavored to assist in solving the 
housing problems as part of the Better Homes demonstrations. 

"In Jefferson County, Arkansas, two demonstration houses and 
one home economics cottage were opened for inspection during 
Better Homes Week. One of the houses was a town house of 
new, frame construction, consisting of six rooms and bath and 
valued at about $3,800. The second house was a remodeled house 
of five rooms and bath, which cost a little less than $1,500. These 
two houses represented in the first, good planning, sound con- 
struction and conveniences; and in the second, a project in re- 
modeling at small cost. The home economics cottage which was 
opened for inspection demonstrated the practical and useful work 
that students are doing as part of home economics instruction. 

"In addition to these three demonstrations there was a tour of 
57 houses, and home improvement contests which were partici- 
pated in by several hundred people. Negro schools gave special 
health programs and pupils entered into home improvement work 
by carrying on small home repairs in their own homes. School- 
houses and grounds were also cleaned and put in order. 

"One of the most outstanding features of the Jefferson County 
demonstration was a Better Homes School. A number of com- 
munity chairmen in the county attended this school and various 
housing and homemaking problems were discussed, such as care 
and repair of homes, landscaping, garden demonstrations, contests 
of the separate rooms in the house, etc. After a survey was made, 
the kitchen was believed to be the most neglected room in the ma- 
jority of homes and the emphasis was placed on this particular 
part of the demonstration. In addition to this, equipment, such 
as water systems and sewerage, was also discussed. 

"In Jefferson County, as in other counties, considerable emphasis 
was placed on the value of vegetable gardens particularly during 
this period of unemployment. In some of the demonstration gar- 
dens as many as twenty-nine varieties of vegetables were shown 
with information on the number of crops that may be grown. 
Such a demonstration is of particular value in supplying families 


with food for adequate diet and also in reducing family expendi- 

"The main feature of the Lee County, Arkansas, demonstra- 
tion was an extensive tour of improved places featuring special 
rooms, reconditioned furniture, built-in equipment, conveniences, 
etc. Over 600 Negro families participated and the schools demon- 
strated the refinishing of furniture and care and repair. 

"In another Arkansas county St. Francis 18 Negro demon- 
stration houses were visited. Nearly 2,500 persons inspected 
these houses. The St. Francis County demonstration illustrates 
also scientific and carefully thought out campaign work, as a sur- 
vey was conducted of the local housing needs. In this county 65 
houses were shown in tours. The school cooperated by the plant- 
ing of grounds, the making of gardens and in clean-up campaign 
work. Home economics departments exhibited handicraft and 
also had a display of clothing. The 4-H Club girls entered into 
homemaking contests and home beautification competitions. So 
successful was this campaign in St. Francis County that a house 
is planned for every community in the county for the 1932 demon- 

"In East St. Louis, Illinois, 12 homes were included in the 
Better Homes tour. These houses varied in cost from $500 to 
$7,500. Extensive lecture programs and special meetings were 
also held and the schools made their contribution by exhibiting 
handicraft work and in clean-up campaigns. The home economics 
department gave a demonstration of furniture arrangement, and 
the boy and girl organizations, such as Boy Scouts, assisted in 
the clean-up of vacant lots. 

"A unique but most interesting project was that included in 
Jackson, Mississippi, in which hundreds of families in the com- 
munity participated. This was a contest between city blocks in 
order to stimulate home improvement and inspire families to 
beautify and clean up their premises. A major demonstration 
house was also a part of the campaign. This was well equipped 
and furnished with reconditioned furniture. 

"In Pemiscot County, Missouri, the Jeanes Supervisors took an 
active part in the campaign work, by assisting in arranging the 
Better Homes tour. This tour of nine houses included as its 
special features living-room arrangement, bedroom furnishings, 
dining-room, including table setting, wall finishes and coverings, 
kitchens and kitchen equipment. 



"The outstanding Negro demonstration of South Carolina was 
that of St. Helena Island. This Island has been awarded a num- 
ber of Better Homes in America prizes as well as honorable men- 
tion. The Penn Normal and Industrial School of the Island has 
taken part in the Better Homes campaign work since the very 
beginning of Better Homes in America. In 1931, a house built 
by Negro students of the carpentry class of Penn School was the 
special feature. This demonstration house was constructed par- 
tially of lumber salvaged from the old house which was torn 
down. This cottage, dedicated 'Laurellen Cottage/ was not only 
built, equipped, and furnished, but the grounds were planned and 

"In addition to this major demonstration house, tours were 
made to improved houses on the Island. Churches, schools, and 
all organizations made their contribution to the campaign. Over 
2,000 citizens and friends viewed some part of the demonstra- 
tion. The slogan for each teacher in Penn School is 'Better 
Homes in St. Helena.' 

"Perhaps one of the most unique and most worth while fea- 
tures of the program was the work done by what was known as 
the Tax Committee. Due to the fact that many of the Islanders 
are losing their homes because of failure to pay taxes or because 
of ignorance regarding taxation, educational work on taxation was 
planned as part of the Better Homes campaign. Representatives 
were called from each plantation to meet at the school in order 
to discuss the best methods of helping poor families and those 
families not familiar with tax laws. 'Tax Facts' and 'Tax Rules' 
were formulated, and the general principles of taxation were ex- 
plained to the people. The amount of land which is slipping away 
from Islanders through ignorance as well as due to poverty was 
discussed and in the tax rules which were set up for this group the 
following were included: 

1. Read the tax receipt. 

2. Be sure you pay your own tax. Always give name and plantation. 

3. Go to the tax sale or have your representative there. 

4. Declare your tax returns. 

5. All farm and wood land on St. Helena Island is valuable to the Negro 
people. When you lose your inheritance what have you to fall back on? 

"Such problems as this which were included in the Better Homes 
campaign are of real educational value and are of considerable 
significance at present. 


"The above are samples of some of the outstanding Negro 
demonstrations. There are hundreds of others which represent 
varied phases of home improvement work. In the 1931 cam- 
paign, Negro citizens as well as white entered into unemploy- 
ment relief as part of Better Homes work. This unemployment 
relief has been in the form of home reconditioning and repair and 
in the raising of vegetable gardens. Although many families may 
not be able to afford the hire of outside labor in home repair, 
these home repair campaigns, even though the repair work is con- 
ducted by the families themselves, do add to some extent to the 
materials that are purchased. They add considerably, also, 
in putting houses and premises in good condition. For a house in 
good condition obviously has been increased in value . . . 

"If one were to catalogue the results of these Negro Better 
Homes campaigns perhaps home improvement would receive the 
first place. However, there is a result that may be even greater 
and more far-reaching than that of the actual project of home im- 
provement. This result is the desire created in Negro families for 

home improvement and a better standard of living." 8 

* * * * * 

"Six hundred and seventy-four committees were organized in 
all parts of the United States during the past year to arrange for 
participation of colored citizens in the nation-wide Better Homes 
campaign. This campaign is sponsored by Better Homes in 
America and has for its purpose the improvement of housing con- 
ditions for families of modest means. 

"The movement, begun in 1922 as a private enterprise, was 
found to be of such value in bringing about improved conditions 
and homemaking practices, that it was established on a national 
basis in 1923, with Mr. Hoover, then Secretary of Commerce, as 
its president . . . 

"The purposes of Better Homes in America are : 

1. To make accessible to all citizens knowledge of high standards in house 
building, home furnishing and home life. 

2. To encourage the building of sound, beautiful, single-family houses ; 
and to encourage the reconditioning and remodeling of old houses. 

3. To encourage thrift for home ownership, and to spread knowledge of 
methods of financing the purchase or building of a home. 

8 Halbert, Blanche, "Home Improvement among Negro Families," Southern 
Workman, May, 1932, Vol. 61, No. 5, pp. 209-216. 



4. To encourage general study of the housing problem and of problems 
of family life, and to help each community to profit from its study. 

5. To encourage the furnishing of homes economically and in good taste. 

6. To supply knowledge of the means of eliminating drudgery and waste 
of effort in housekeeping, and to spread information about public agencies 
which will assist housekeepers in their problems. 

7. To encourage the establishment of courses of instruction in home eco- 
nomics in the public schools, and particularly the construction of home- 
economics cottages and home-management houses where girls in our public 
schools and colleges may, by actual practice, learn the best methods of con- 
ducting household operations and of homemaking. 

8. To encourage the building of small houses by boys of vocational schools 
or vocational classes of public schools, with instruction in house upkeep and 
repair, so that the boys of the community may acquire an intelligent interest 
in the problems of householding and home ownership. 

9. To promote the improvement of house lots, yards, and neighborhoods, 
and to encourage the making of home gardens and home playgrounds. 

10. To extend knowledge of the ways of making home life happier, through 
the development of home music, home play, home arts and crafts, and the 
home library. 

11. To encourage special study and discussion of the problem of character 
building in the home. 

"These purposes are carried out in local communities by com- 
mittees of interested citizens who, with the help of specialists, ar- 
range programs designed to meet local needs. These programs 
vary according to the size and conditions of the communities, rang- 
ing through sings-meetings with talks on homemaking subjects, 
demonstrations of labor-saving devices and methods, showing of 
handmade and reconditioned articles of furniture, improvement 
contests which often involve entire communities, and the demon- 
stration of houses, either new or reconditioned, suitable for fami- 
lies of modest income. Prominent colored citizens in all parts of 
the country are serving on these committees and are carrying out 
programs which are resulting in improved conditions of housing 
for the members of their communities. The chairmen of these 
committees, both men and women, have been selected and ap- 
pointed by the national office because of their active interest in 
civic affairs. 

"In addition to local and county Better Homes committees, state 
committees are formed for the purpose of adapting the national 
educational program to local needs and of bringing its service into 
every community in the state. Fourteen such committees have 
been organized . . . 


"More than 7,000 communities took part in the 1930 Better 
Homes campaign which culminated in the observance of Better 
Homes Week, in April. As a means of calling public attention 
to the accomplishments in home improvement work, the national 
organization each year offers prizes ranging from $50 to $500 to 
communities presenting the most worth while educational pro- 
grams. Many colored communities have participated in these 
awards during the past years, while still others have received 
honorable mention because of the excellence of their programs. 
Seven communities of colored people were included in the fifty- 
nine which were given honorable mention for the quality of their 
programs, while activities of colored people contributed to the 
programs in several of the prize-winning communities. Notable 
among these was the work done in Greenville, South Carolina, 
where the Better Homes campaign was sponsored by the Women's 
Bureau of the Chamber of Commerce. Three of the fourteen 
houses shown in different parts of the city to illustrate planning, 
planting, furnishing or improving that could be carried out at 
little or no cost, were planned especially for colored families and 
were furnished and demonstrated by subcommittees . . . 

". . . In Little Rock, Arkansas, which won fourth prize in the 
class of cities over 10,000, a survey of housing conditions of col- 
ored people revealed the fact that the average rent paid is $10 a 
month. About 20 per cent of the colored citizens own their own 
homes. The committee selected for demonstration a three-room 
house which had been let and which the owner remodeled from 
a run-down house into a creditable cottage. This house was used 
to show a type of home that could be purchased and maintained 
on an income of $1,000 to $2,000. Its furnishings were selected 
from the stocks of local merchants and placed by a committee 
from the Colored Federation of Women's Clubs. When opened 
for inspection during Better Homes Week this house was visited 
by 7,450 persons. Forty ministers in colored churches used Bet- 
ter Homes as the subject of their sermons on April 27. Programs 
were held in a new school building and in the Y. W. C. A., with 
music by colored choirs and glee clubs. Tours were arranged to 
homes where improvement in planting was shown and also to the 
houses entered in last year's contest ... As a project in com- 
munity improvement, the Colored Parent-Teacher Association is 
undertaking the planting of school grounds. 

"Warren County, Mississippi, won second prize in the county 


group, with a program which included the showing of twelve 
houses, ranging in cost from $250 to $10,000. Three of these, 
costing $250, $300, and $1,200 with furnishings costing $300, 
$300, and $600, respectively, were provided for colored families. 
Two hundred and fifty colored citizens took part in contests to im- 
prove houses and grounds, and 500 attended programs. In addi- 
tion to the home improvement work, forty-three school grounds 
were cleaned and beautified . . . 

"Tours to eleven houses were made during Better Homes Week 
by two hundred colored citizens of Pulaski County, Arkansas, 
where they were given opportunity to inspect added rooms, im- 
proved fences, whitewashing, planting, ... all of which were 
accomplished through the Better Homes campaign. Lectures and 
demonstrations were given at each home. The latter included 
table setting, bed making, and picture framing and hanging. The 
lecture topics included home beautification, health in the home, 
systematizing housework, and the year-round garden as a source of 
proper food. National Negro Health Week was correlated with 
the Better Homes program, which resulted in extensive cleaning 
of homes and premises. With the cooperation of parents and 
teachers, children of rural schools repaired houses, built walks, 
repaired doorsteps, leveled lawns, sodded yards, cleaned yards, 
built fences, moved wood-piles, painted houses, moved old fences 
and unsightly objects, planted shrubs and flowers, made window 
flower boxes, painted furniture, made window curtains and covers 
for dressers and chairs, improved rooms and whitewashed houses 
and outhouses . . . 

"More than 7,000 local committees participated in carrying out 
plans for home improvement and arranging special programs dur- 
ing the observance of Better Homes Week, April 26 to May 2; 
and colored citizens throughout the nation have demonstrated that 
they, too, are no less eager than their fellow citizens for homes 
of comfort and beauty. That there are formidable handicaps to 
overcome in many communities none will deny, but there is reason 
to hope that within the next decade there will be a revolution 
in house building, home furnishing, and home life in America in 
which the colored citizens will play an important and happy 
role." 9 

9 Storrow, Helen, "Better Homes for Negroes in America," Opportunity, 
June, 1931, Vol. 9, pp. 174-177. 





The questionnaire method was used. Sample used : Only one 
block in white neighborhood and only one block in Negro neighbor- 
hood. Therefore findings cannot be set forth as generally true of 
special area or typical of city, but are certainly true in this one 
sample. With prevalence of kitchenette apartments, however, in 
both territories, we are inclined to conclude that the converted 
kitchenette apartment is typical of interstitial areas. 

Basis of Selection 

These two blocks were chosen because they are equal in age. 
Both neighborhoods were formerly occupied by wealthy owners, 
followed by groups lower in social and economic scales. Houses 
have rather elaborate stone fronts, and were, in their day, stately 

White Area 

Negro Area 

One - family Dwellings 
Made into Kitchen- 
ette Apartments. 

Of 10 one-family dwellings vis- 
ited, 8 converted into kitchen- 
ette apartments. 

Of 13 one-family dwellings vis- 
ited, 9 converted into kitchen- 
ette apartments. 

Arrangement of Apart- 

(1) Large double parlors subdi- 
vided and used for bedroom and 
kitchen. (2) Two small adja- 
cent rooms one as kitchen. 

Ordinary clothes closet used for 
kitchen. Gas plate, ice box in 
bedroom. Result: Mildewed 
walls and wet floor areas. 

Lighting Fixtures and 

Old gas chandeliers and fixtures 
replaced by good electrical wir- 
ing and fixtures. All apart- 
ments arranged with access to 
natural daylight. 

Many old unused gas chandeliers 
remained. Electrical installa- 
tion in hallways. Extension 
cords attached and run through 
holes in walls into individual 


In both areas, need of varnish 
and stain obvious. 

Four flights of stairways creaky 
and insecure. 


Well papered. Landlords will 
paper but will not be respon- 
sible for woodwork and floors. 

Sagging paper from ceiling and 
walls due to leaks in roofs, 
plumbing, and sweating radia- 
tors. Plaster fallen out, leaving 
large open spaces. Walls along 
stairway carved, nicked, and 

* Prepared by George R. Arthur for the Urban Section of the Group on the Physical 
Aspects of Negro Housing, and submitted as an appendix to the report of the Com- 
mittee on Negro Housing. 




White Area 

Negro Area 


Tubs and wash basins in good 
condition. Average number of 
persons per bath ten. Aver- 
age number of water toilets per 
building three. 

Average number of persons per 
bath sixteen; in one building, 
twenty-nine using one bathroom. 
Average number of water toilets 
per building two. Average 
number of apartments per 
building seven. 

Back Porches 

Crudely repaired but evidently 

Seven out of ten had ragged open 
spaces in floor, missing palings, 
and fallen, rotten back steps. 


Good laundry and storage facili- 

Two flooded. (Survey made, in 
part, after heavy rain.) Clut- 
tered; missing taps and faucets. 
In two instances, plumbing up- 
rooted and impossible for laun- 
dry purposes. Upstairs, wet 
clothing hung in small kitchens, 
bedrooms, and over good ban- 


Maximum per week per apart- 
ment $12.50 for three-room 
apartment, maid and janitor 
service. Average rental per 
week $7.15. 

Maximum rental for three-room 
apartment per week $15.00. 
No maid service. Average rental 
per apartment per week $8.75. 

Attitude of Landlords 

Typical of both areas: "This type of housing is necessary for a certain 
type of people." "After all, it is only an investment. I am not a 
social worker." "They're not complaining. They are satisfied. 
Some of them can't pay for this." 

Police Captain in the 

"You see the furnished kitchenette apartment is just the thing for 
the prostitute. All she has to do is to walk in with her handbag. 
She is able to pick up and leave just as easily." 

Types of People Who 
Occupy Apartments 

Transient. Average time of occupancy, two weeks to six weeks. Un- 
stable. Frequent change of address helps to conceal various in, 
dividual obligations. 


In view of this type of housing, the converted kitchenette f apartmen- 
which has been so generally accepted by both whites and Negroest 
we recommend that a further and more intensive study be made, 
soliciting the cooperation of such social agencies as the church, the 
Urban League, neighborhood housing associations, and landlords; 
that instead of converting old elaborate houses into homes for 
types now occupying such dwellings, a special type of housing be 
provided with sink and toilet facilities, light, air, fire protection, 
and privacy, at a rate in reach of groups according to varying eco- 
nomic and social levels. 



Housing Conditions 

report No. 5. New York, The Association, 1923. 

HAYNES, GEORGE EDMUND. Conditions among Negroes in the cities. 
[Philadelphia, 1913] The Annals of the American academy of politi- 
cal and social science, Sept., 1913, v. 46:105-119. 

JOHNSON, CHARLES S. The Negro in American civilization. New York, 
Henry Holt & co., 1930. 538 p. 
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FERENCE. Charles S. Johnson, secretary. 1928. Section VI. Housing. 

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Cities and States 

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WOOFTER, T. J., jr. The Negroes of Athens. Bulletin of the Univer- 
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Beckley, W. Va. 

MATNEY, W. C. A survey of Negro housing and home ownership of 
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co., 1914. 496 p. 
Buffalo, N. Y. 

JOHNSON, CHARLES S. The Negro population of Buffalo, N. Y. New 
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Charleston, W . Va. 

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Chicago, III. 
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GRAHAM, IRENE J. A study of Negro households. Chicago, Univer- 
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224 p. 

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ELWANG, WILLIAM WILSON. The Negroes of Columbia, Mo., a con- 
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RAPER, ARTHUR. A study of Greene and Macon Counties (Ga.). At- 
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WALKER, HARRY J. Report of social survey of living conditions of 
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Segregation (Residential) 

BALDWIN, WILLIAM H. Unconstitutional segregation. New republic, Jan. 

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BURGESS, ERNEST. Residential segregation in American cities. [Phila- 
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HAYNES, GEORGE EDMUND. Conditions among Negroes in the cities 

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KENNEDY, LOUISE VENABLE. The Negro peasant turns cityward. New 

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MILLER, KELLY and HERBERT J. SELIGMANN. Separate communities for 

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NEGRO SEGREGATION IN CITIES. Chautauquan, Mar. 1911, v. 62:11-13. 
A NOTE ON HOUSING PROBLEMS ; editorial Opportunity, Oct. 1926, v. 4 :302. 
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STEPHENSON, GILBERT T. The segregation of the white and Negro races 

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STEWARD, GUSTAVUS A. Segregation de luxe. Nation, Sept. 17, 1930, 

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WASHINGTON, BOOKER T. My view of segregation laws. New republic, 

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WEHLE, Louis B. Isolating the Negro. New republic, Nov. 27, 1915, 

v. 5:88-90. 
WOOFTER, T. J., jr. Negro problems in cities. Garden City, N. Y., 

Doubleday Doran & co., 1928. 284 p. 

Restrictive Covenant 


SURVEY OF THE MONTH; a news note. Opportunity, July, 1926, v. 4:230. 

SURVEY OF THE MONTH ; a news note. Opportunity, July, 1926, v. 4 :230. 
Rochester, Minn. 

fender, Chicago, Dec. 13, 1930, p. 2. 
Washington, D. C. 

CORRIGAN v. KUCKLEY. The congressional digest, June, 1926, v. 5:207. 

Literary digest, June 12, 1926, v. 89:14. Opportunity, Aug. 1926, 

v. 4:239. 

Washington segregation case. Crisis, Nov. 1924, v. 29:19; Dec. 1924, 

v. 29 :69. 

Community Action and Mob Violence 

Chicago, III. 

cago, University of Chicago press, 1922. 
p. 122-136. 

GOLD, H. R. and B. K. ARMSTRONG. Summary of a preliminary study 
of interracial conditions in Chicago. Crisis, Mar. 1921, v. 21 :213-15. 


THE HORIZON; a news note. Crisis, Apr. 1920, v. 19:298; Apr. 1920, 

v. 19 :344. 

SEGREGATION. Crisis, Aug. 1919, v. 18:196. 
Cleveland, O. 

ARTHUR HILL CASE. Crisis, Nov. 1924, v. 29 :20. 
A HOME. Crisis, Feb. 1929, v. 36:46. 

JOHNSON, CHARLES S. The Negro in American civilization. New York, 
Henry Holt & co., 1930. 538 p. 

p. 204-205. 
Danville, Va. 

Dec. 6, 1930, p. 3. 

Detroit, Mich. 

FREE DR. OSSIAN SWEET. The defender, Chicago, Apr. 25, 1931. 

THE HOUSING WAR ; editorial. Opportunity, Nov. 1925, v. 3 :323. 

DR. OSSIAN SWEET is DEFENDANT. The defender, Chicago, Apr. 18, 
1931, p. 13. 

WHITE, WALTER. The Sweet trial. Crisis, Jan. 1926, v. 31 :125-129. 
Greensboro, N . C. 


1919, v. 18:196. 
Minneapolis, Minn. 

burgh courier, July 25, 1931. 

Syracuse, 0. 

QUILLIN, FRANKLIN U. Race prejudice in a northern town. Indepen- 
dent, July 20, 1905, v. 59:139-142. 

White Plains, N. Y. 
HOUSING TROUBLES; editorial. Pittsburgh courier, May 3, 1930, p. 12, 

sec/ 2. 
PHYSICIANS REFUSE TO VACATE. The defender, Chicago, May 2, 1931, 

p. 11. 
POLICE ARE DETAILED TO QUELL VIOLENCE. Pittsburgh courier, Apr. 19, 

1930, p. 4, sec. 1. 
ROCKS THROWN WIDOW FLEES. The defender, Chicago, Apr. 25, 1931, 

p. 1. 
THREATEN FAMILIES, SUPPORT OF "Y." Pittsburgh courier, May 3, 1930, 

p. 2, sec. 1. 


General Discussions 
BRUCE, PHILIP ALEXANDER. Segregation. Nation, Aug. 10, 1911, v. 

STEPHENSON, GILBERT T. The segregation of the white and Negro 

races in cities. South Atlantic quarterly, Jan. 1914, v. 13:1-18. 


SUMMARY OF CASES TO DATE. Crisis, Dec. 1917, v. 15 :69-73. 
WEHLE, Louis B. Isolating the Negro. New republic, Nov. 27, 1915, 
v. 5:88-90. 

Constitutionality of Segregation Legislation Types of Segre- 
gation Ordinances 

STEPHENSON, GILBERT T. The segregation of the white and Negro 
races in cities. South Atlantic quarterly, Jan. 1914, v. 13 :1-18. 

Supreme Court Decision. 
BALDWIN, WILLIAM H. Unconstitutional segregation. New republic, 

Jan. 19, 1918, v. 13 :345-346. 

MOMENTOUS DECISION. Nation, Nov. 15, 1917, v. 105:526. 

Segregation. Crisis, Mar. 1925., v. 29 :208. 
THE NEGRO'S RIGHT OF RESIDENCE. Literary digest, Nov. 24, 1917, 

v. 55:17-18. 

No RACE SEGREGATION BY LAW. Outlook, Dec. 5, 1917, v. 117:548-549. 
SEGREGATION AND THE SUPREME COURT; editorial. Crisis, Jan. 1918, 

v. 15:134-135. 
STATUTORY SEGREGATION ILLEGAL. Outlook, Mar. 30, 1927, v. 145 :388. 

Atlanta, Ga. 

NEW SEGREGATION ACT ALARMS. The defender, Chicago, Mar. 25, 1931. 
25, 1931, p. 4. 

Baltimore, Md. 

gation. Crisis, Apr. 1918, v. 15 :284. 

Greenville, S. C. 

STEPHENSON, GILBERT T. Segregation of the white and Negro races 
in cities. South Atlantic quarterly, Jan. 1914, v. 13 :1-18. 

Los Angeles, Calif. 

BAR Los ANGELES WOMAN FROM OWN HOME. The defender, Chicago, Feb. 
8, 1930, p. 1. 

Louisville, Ky. 

DISCUSSION OF CASES, including Louisville, Ky. case of Buchanan v. War- 
ley. Crisis, May, 1927, v. 34:82. 

See also reference to Supreme Court decision. 

New Orleans, La. 

CRISIS, July, 1920, v. 20:148. 

CRISIS, Mar. 1925, v. 29 :208. 

EIGHTEENTH ANNUAL REPORT. National association for the advancement 

of colored people. New York (69 Fifth Ave.), 1927. 
PERKINS, A. E., ed. Who's who in colored Louisiana. 1930. 


Richmond, Va. 

DECISION OF LOWER COURT UPHELD. Pittsburgh courier, Jan. 25, 1930, 
p. 20. 

KNIGHT, CHARLES Louis. Negro housing in certain Virginia cities. 
Richmond, The William Byrd press, inc., 1927. 158 p. 
(University of Virginia, Phelps-Stokes fellowship paper.) 

tle front. Crisis, Apr. 1929, v. 36:121. 

defender, Chicago, Feb. 8, 1930. 

May 31, 1930, p. 5, sec. 1. 

Jan. 18, 1930. 

St. Louis, Mo. 

NEGRO SEGREGATION ADOPTED BY ST. Louis. Survey, Mar. 11, 1916, v. 
35 :694. 

Winston-Salem, N. C. 

STEPHENSON, GILBERT T. Segregation of the white and Negro races in 
cities. South Atlantic quarterly, Jan. 1914, v. 13:1-18. 


POE, CLARENCE. Rural land segregation: A reply to Mr. Stephenson. 

South Atlantic quarterly, July, 1914, v. 13 :207-12. 
STEPHENSON, GILBERT T. The segregation of the white and Negro races 

in rural communities of North Carolina. South Atlantic quarterly, 

Apr. 1914, v. 13:107-117. 
WEATHERFORD, WILLIS D. Race segregation in the rural South. Survey, 

Jan. 2, 1915, v. 33 :375-377. 


HEADLEY, MADGE. Citizen rights and community rights. Opportunity, 
Jan. 1923, v. 1 :12-14. 

Better Housing Campaigns and Projects 

HALBERT, BLANCHE. Leadership for better homes. Southern workman, 
Apr. 1927, v. 56:169-174. 

HALBERT, BLANCHE. Why America will have better homes. Southern 
workman, May, 1929, v. 58:216-223. 

HALBERT, BLANCHE. Home improvement among Negro families. South- 
ern workman, May, 1932, v. 61 :209-216. 

STORROW, HELEN. Better homes for Negroes in America. Opportunity, 
June, 1931, v. 9:174-177. 


Cities and States 
Atlanta, Ga. 
CALVIN, FLOYD. Heman Perry started Atlanta on its home building 

program. Pittsburgh courier, Oct. 31, 1931. p. 6, sec. 1. 
Baltimore, Md. 

GARY, JOHN R. Helping Negro workers to purchase homes. Oppor- 
tunity, Jan. 1924, v. 2 :23-24. 
FERNANDIS, SARAH C. "A more excellent way": A housing plan. 

Southern workman, Nov. 1924, v. 53:526-528. 

HOMES FOR NEGRO WORKERS ; editorial. Opportunity, Jan. 1924, v. 2 :4-5. 
Chicago, III. 

city, Nov. 1930, v. 43 :151. 

THE NEGRO COMING INTO HIS OWN. Housing, June, 1929, v. 18:110-113. 
TAYLOR, ROBERT R. A demonstration in modern housing. Opportunity, 

Mar. 1931, v. 9:82. 
Cincinnati, 0. 

GINBERG, HARRIS. Interesting facts about model houses and their ten- 
ants. Housing, Mar. 1931, v. 20 :69-75. 
HOUSING FOR NEGRO WAGE EARNERS: An experiment. Opportunity, 

July, 1923, v. 1 :208-210. 
Louisville, Ky. 
RAGLAND, JOHN M. Negro housing in Louisville. Southern workman, 

Jan. 1929, v. 58:22-28. 
New York, N. Y. 

BRUCE, ROSCOE CONKLING. The Dunbar apartment house: An adven- 
ture in community building. Southern workman, Oct. 1931, v. 60: 
AERY, WILLIAM A. Better health and better homes for Negroes by 

Negroes. Survey, May 15, 1915, v. 34:158-159. 
Washington, D. C. 
THE MODEL CITY; editorial. Opportunity, Aug. 1929, v. 7:236-237. 


Advisory Committee on City Plan- 
ning and Zoning, U. S. Depart- 
ment of Commerce, 4, 220 

Agricultural agents, county, U. S. 
Department of Agriculture, 30 

Albany, N. Y., 12, 84, 122 

Albemarle County, Va., kitchen, 
Better Homes in America Negro 
demonstration house, before and 
after reconditioning (illus.), fac- 
ing 74 

Alcoa, Tenn., Ill 

Alley houses: 20-21, 25, (illus.), 
facing 26 ; 123, 126 ; abolition rec- 
ommended, 114 

American Cast Iron Pipe Company, 

American Management Association, 

American Rolling Mill Company, 111 

Apartments : for Negroes, 105-8, 
239-42, 245-48; a kitchen in mod- 
ern (illus.), facing 107; Braxton 
Campbell Court, Cincinnati, Ohio 
(illus.), facing 13, 244; court, Paul 
Laurence Dunbar Apartments, 
New York, N. Y. (illus.), frontis- 
piece; kitchenette, in Chicago, 
179-81, 258-59; kitchenette, study 
recommended, 115; Michigan 
Boulevard Garden Apartments, 
Chicago, 111. (illus.), facing 106 

Appraisal bureau, central, need for, 

Armstrong Association, 109 

Arthur, George R., 13 

Asheville, N. C, 36 

Ashland, Va., 37-38 

Atkinson, Mrs. Ruth W., 30 

Atlanta, Gary v., 222fn 

Atlanta, Ga. : 36, 37, 39, 43, 93fn, 
95fn, 103, 120, 199, 222; housing 
projects for Negroes, 237 

Baden, N. C, 111 

Baltimore, Md. : 36, 37, 39, 42, 43, 
47, 199, 201, 205, 213, 222; housing 
projects for Negroes, 237-39 

Batchelor, Carey, 15, 64fn 

Beaver Products Company, 157 

Beckley, W. Va., 85 

Better Homes in America: kitchen, 
Negro demonstration house, Char- 
lottesville, Va., before and after 

reconditioning (illus.), facing 250; 
living room, Negro demonstration 
house, Little Rock, Ark. (illus.), 
facing 256; local campaign 
methods, 255; Negro campaigns, 
74, 249-57; Negro chairmen, 149; 
Negro demonstration house, 1930, 
Greenville, S. C. (illus.), facing 
251 ; Negro demonstration house, 
1928, before and after recondition- 
ing (illus.), facing 74; Negro 
demonstration houses, 1931, 250; 
Negro participation in 1931 cam- 
paign, 249-50; purposes, 113, 254- 
55; tours, 257 

Birmingham, Ala., 36, 103, 111 

Blanshard, Paul, 29 

Blighted areas, characteristics, 5-6 

Bostrom, Charles, 220 

Boys, Negro, percentage of, of total 
cases in Boys' Court, Chicago 
(table), 148 

Braxton Campbell Court, Cincinnati, 
O. (illus.), facing 13, 244 

Bruce, Roscoe Conkling, 107fn, 
245fn, 248fn 

Bryan, Joseph D., 148fn, 149, 150, 

Buchanan v. Warley, 39fn, 221 

Buckley, Corrigan v., 41 

Buffalo, N. Y., 11, 14, 71, 118 

Building: codes, enforcement recom- 
mended, 114; laws to improve 
Negro housing, need for, 34 

Building and loan associations: en- 
couragement of, recommended, 
115; Negro, 85, 96, 101, 238 

Burbridge, L. F., 102 

Burgess, Ernest W., 4fn, 53, 116fn, 
203fn, 205 

Calvin, Floyd J., 237fn 
Campbell, O., Ill 
Gary v. Atlanta, 222fn 
Gary, John R., 239fn 
Charleston, S. C., 7, 18, 203 
Charleston, W. Va., 85, 123 
Charlottesville, Va. : 24fn, 85fn, 
138fn; kitchen, Better Homes in 
America Negro demonstration 
house, before and after recondi- 
tioning (illus.), facing 74 
Chicago, 111.: 3, 5, 6, 11, 12, 14, 16, 
41, 43, 46, 48, 52, 54, 55, 57, 59, 




63, 71, 80, 84, 86-89, 97, 102, 106, 
107, 116, 117, 118, 120, 143-98, 
203, 205, 211, 213, 232, 239-42; de- 
linquency, characteristics of "Black 
Belt" influencing, 183-91 ; delin- 
quency, characteristics of Near 
West Side influencing, 191-95 ; de- 
linquency in selected areas (table), 
53; delinquency problem among 
Negroes, 144-55 ; home ownership 
in, 86-89, 232; homicides by Ne- 
groes, ratio to total homicides, 
1921-28 (table), 154; housing con- 
ditions with special reference to 
juvenile delinquency, 143-98; hous- 
ing projects for Negroes, 239-42; 
Michigan Boulevard Garden 
Apartments, 239-42; Negro hous- 
ing, 86-87, 123-24; persons ar- 
raigned before Municipal and 
Criminal Courts (table), 152; 
rent levels among Negroes, 172- 
83; United Charities of, 174fn, 181 

Chicago Commission on Race Rela- 
tions, 7, 46fn, 49, 54fn, 56, 63fn, 
79, 87fn, 92fn, 124fn, 178fn, 231 

Chicago Department of Public Wel- 
fare, lOfn, 12fn, 14fn, 63fn, 72, 
84fn, 124fn 

Chicago Police Department, Annual 
Reports of, 152 

Chicago Urban League : 52fn, 143fn, 
145fn, 157fn, 158fn, 159fn, 160fn, 
163, 165fn, 171, 172, 173, 174fn, 
176fn, 196; placements of Negro 
female workers made by (table), 

"Chicago Whip, The," 171fn, 172 

Chicago Zoning Commission, 220 

Children's Bureau, U. S. Depart- 
ment of Labor, 27 

Cincinnati, O. : 105, 106 ; Braxton 
Campbell Court (illus.), facing 12; 
housing projects for Negroes, 242- 
45; inferior housing conditions 
(illus.), facing 13 

Cincinnati Better Housing League, 

Cincinnati Model Homes Company: 
105-6, 242-45 ; division of expendi- 
tures, 244; housing projects, 242- 
45 ; losses from vacancies in hous- 
ing projects, 244; maintenance 
costs in housing projects, 244-45 

Cities, Negro housing in: northern, 
8-17; southern, 17-25 

Citizens Housing Corporation, 108 

City growth: Negro housing as 

phase of, 4-5 ; and urban zones, 

City property, value of, owned by 

Negroes, 1923 and 1928, Ga., N. C, 

and Va. (table), 83 
Civic improvement through welfare 

organizations, recommended, 114 
Clark, Mrs. Patricia, 181fn 
Cleveland, O., 3, 5, 46, 211, 213 
Columbus, O., 11, 84, 94, 124-26 
Commission, municipal, to investigate 

housing conditions recommended, 

Communities, Negro, suggested study 

of types, 116-17 
Community, Negro housing and the, 


Cone, M. H., 144fn 
Congestion, housing, 10-11 
Cooperative associations, local, of 

Negro prospective home owners 

recommended, 115 
Corrigan v, Buckley, 41 
Corrigan, Mrs. Irene Hand, 41 
Corson, John J., Ill, 23fn, 24, 86, 

Covenants, segregation : litigation 

concerning, 41-42, 43-44; and or- 
dinances, 35-37; and restrictive 

compacts, 40-42 
Credit risks, Negroes as, 102-4 
Cressey, Paul R, 55 
Crime in Chicago : extent among 

Negro adults, 151-55; problem, 

Cumberland County, N. J., 84 

Dallas, Tex, 22, 36, 85, 126-27 
Dallas Committee on Interracial 
Cooperation, Civic Federation of 
Dallas, 22, 85fn, 86, 127fn 
Darrow, Clarence, 214 
Daves, Joseph H., 24fn, 131fn 
Davies, John R., 16 
Davis, Don A., lOlfn 
Dedeaux, Mrs. Maude R., 20fn 
Delinquency in Chicago: among 
boys, 147-51 ; among boys, at- 
tempts at prevention and adjust- 
ment, 149-51 ; among boys, rela- 
tion of housing and income to, 
148-49; characteristics of "Black 
Belt" influencing, 183-91 ; char- 
acteristics of Near West Side in- 
fluencing, 191-95; cycles, 195-97; 
factors causing, 196-97; juvenile, 
and parental income, 170-71 ; 
juvenile, as related to housing, 



143-98; juvenile, in Negro areas, 
52-53, 55, 57; juvenile, problem of, 
144-55 ; Negro, increase in, 144-45 ; 
Negro, relation of housing to, 52- 
57 ; relation of housing and income 
to, 148-49; relation of rents to, 
181-83, 194-95; selected areas 
(table), 53; and neighborhoods, 

Delinquents in Chicago: adult, prob- 
lem of, 151-55; boy, per cent of 
Negroes among (table), 147; 
Negro, geographical distribution, 
155-56; Negro boy, percentage of 
total cases in Boys' Court (table), 
148; of Boys' Court age, 147-48; 
total yearly, before Cook County 
Juvenile Court (table), 147 

Denver, Colo., 47 

Depreciation of property values : not 
caused by Negro occupancy, 50- 
51 ; through Negro residence, 44, 
48-51, 92, 117, 118, 204 

Detroit, Mich.: 3, 5, 11, 41, 47, 50, 
64, 85, 107, 127-28, 210, 214, 215 ; 
Negro home ownership in, 85, 232 

Detroit, Mayor's Interracial Com- 
mittee of, lOfn, 12, 50, 51fn, 64fn, 
85, 128fn, 232fn 

Detroit Bureau of Governmental Re- 
search, Inc., lOfn, 12fn, 50, 51fn, 
64fn, 85fn, 128fn, 232fn 

Detroit City Planning Commission, 

Division of Building and Housing, 
U. S. Department of Commerce, 

Duke, Charles S., 97 

Dunbar, Paul Laurence, Apartments : 
107, 239, 245-48; average room 
payment per month, 247; inner 
court (illus.), frontispiece; median 
wage of tenant-subscribers, 246; 
nursery (illus.), facing 158 

Earnings: 1,316 families (table), 65; 
monthly, relation to rent (table), 
65'; total weekly, 200 heads of 
families, compared with weekly 
rents, Newark (table), 70. See 
also Income; Wages 

East St. Louis, 111., 252 

Economic factors in Negro housing : 
52-78; Chicago, 143-98; findings 
and tentative conclusions, 195-98; 
general observations, 71-78 

Edwards, Paul K., 103 

Efficiency among Negro workers, ef- 
forts to increase, 171-72 

Elizabeth, N. J.: 66, 128; relation of 
rent to family income, 210 Negro 
families (table), 66 

Elizabeth (N. J.) Interracial Com- 
mittee, 66fn 

Employment: efforts to increase op- 
portunities of Negroes in, 171-72; 
of Negroes, attitude toward, 157- 

Epstein, Abraham, 136fn 

Evans, Mrs. Irving, 20fn 

Evanston, 111., 128-29 

Exploitation of Negroes in home 
purchase, 96-98, 127 

Families: composition of, Newark 
(table), 67; dependent, and rent in 
Chicago, 181 ; reporting earnings 
of specified amounts in one month 
(table), 65 

Family: fund, per cent spent for 
rent (table), 62; life in 200 Negro 
families in Newark, N. J., study 
of, 67-69; income, relation of rent 
to, in 210 Negro families, Eliza- 
beth, N. J. (table), 66; stability 
and home ownership, 86-89 

Federal home loan discount banks, 
proposed, suggested endorsement 
of, 102 

Feldman, Herman, 59fn 

Fisk University, 22, 28, 57fn, 89fn, 

Florida: counties, population and 
home ownership (table), 31; 
rural housing conditions, 30-32; 
Vocational Educational Depart- 
ment, 30 

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical 
College, 30 

Florida Farmers' Cooperative As- 
sociation, 30 

Florida State Agricultural Exten- 
sion Service, 30 

Fort Wayne, Ind., 118 

Frazier, E. Franklin, 57, 86, 89fn, 
116, 154fn, 173, 184fn, 196, 232 

Furnishing, living room, in Better 
Homes in America Negro demon- 
stration house, Little Rock, Ark. 
(illus.), facing 256 

Garden apartments, 105-8, 239-42 
Gary, Ind., 7 
Ginberg, Harris, 245fn 
Gloucester County, N. J., 84 
Government aid in housing for low- 
income groups, possible need of, 



Greene, Cyrus T., 30 

Greenville, S. C. : 37, 39, 256; a 

Negro residence (illus.), facing 


Halbert, Blanche, 79fn, 254fn 
Hall, Wiley A., 62fn, 63, 137fn 
Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va., 

practice house for home economics 

students, built by Negro boys 

(illus.), facing 12 
Hardin, T. A., lOOfn 
Harlem, New York, N. Y., 16, 64, 

82, 121, 122, 199, 211, 213, 215, 216, 

232, 245 

Harper, C. L., 237 
Harris, Abram L., 12, 132fn 
Haynes, George E., 201fn 
Headley, Madge, 17fn, 80fn, 93fn, 

96, 97fn, 103fn, 223fn 

Hill, T. Arnold, 16, 52, 71fn, 79fn, 


Hill, T. Edward, 85fn, 123fn 
Hinman, Albert G., 129fn 
Hoffman, Frederick L., 9fn 
Holmes, N. A., 21fn, lOOfn 
Home building, individual, on small 

capital, 89-91 
Home buying: demonstration for 

rural Negroes, recommended, 115; 

exploitation of Negroes in, 96-98, 

127; for Negroes, methods of, 96- 

97. See also Home financing, 

Home demonstration agents, county, 
U. S. Department of Agriculture, 
work of, 74-76 

Home financing, Negro: Atlanta, 
Ga., 95; Baltimore, Md., 238-39; 
Chicago, 111., 97; Columbus, O., 
94; Houston, Tex., 98-99; Nash- 
ville, Tenn., 95-96; New Orleans, 
La., 100-1; high rates, 92; mort- 
gages on property, 93-102; prob- 
lems, 71-72, 92-104; risk elements 
in, 92-93; rural southern Negroes, 
difficulties for, 32-33; suggested 
developments in, 101-2 

Home loan discount banks, federal : 
plan for, suggested endorsement 
of, 102; proposed, suggested con- 
sideration of Negro interests in, 

Home owners, Negro : number, 79 ; 
prospective, cooperative associa- 
tions for, recommended, 115 

Home ownership, Negro : 79-91, 231- 
36 ; Beckley, W. Va., 85 ; Charles- 
ton, W. Va., 84; Chicago, 84, 

86-89, 182, 232; Chicago, among 
families of delinquents, 182 ; Chi- 
cago, family stability and, 86-89; 
Chicago, seven wards in 1920 
(table), 83; Columbus, O., 84; 
Dallas, Tex., 85, 86; Detroit, 
Mich., 85, 232; Detroit, Mich., 
value of houses owned by Negroes 
(table), 232; Little Rock, Ark., 
108; Memphis, Tenn., comparison, 
1910-1920 (table), 80; New Or- 
leans, La., 86; New York, N. Y., 
82, 232-33 ; New York, N. Y., five 
boroughs in, 1920 (table), 82; 
Philadelphia, Pa., 85; Pittsburgh, 
Pa., 85; Richmond, Va., 85, 233- 
34; Washington, D. C., 85, 235-36; 
fifteen cities (table), 81; fifteen 
cities, trends in, 79-80 ; general 
trends, 91; Pennsylvania, 234-35; 
Pennsylvania, percentage of (out- 
right or buying), 1925 (table), 
234 ; southern cities, 85-86 ; sug- 
gested study, 118; various cities, 
232-36; and population in Florida 
counties (table), 31 

Homemakers' BHiilding and Loan 
Association, 238 

Homicides by Negroes, ratio to total 
homicides, Chicago, 1921-28 
(table), 154 

Hoover, Herbert, President of the 
United States, 220, 254 

Hope Haven League, 149 

Houghteling, Leila, 59fn, 60, 61, 62, 
69, 232fn 

Houses : demolition of, to improve 
conditions recommended, 76, 77- 
78, 114; Negro, classified, 7-8; 
Negro, state of repair of, 12-14; 
tenant-, in the South, types of, 32 

"Housing," 241fn 

Housing : conditions, good, organiza- 
tions suggested for encouragement 
of, 114; congestion, 10-11; for 
boys, 151 ; methods of improving, 
74-78 ; standards, minimum, recom- 
mended for tenants, 115; and in- 
come, relation to boys' delinquency 
in Chicago, 148-49 

Housing, Negro : Albany, N. Y., 
122; Charleston, W. Va., 123; 
Chicago, 86-89, 123-24; Chicago, 
social and economic factors in, 
143-98; Cincinnati, O., inferior 
conditions in (illus.), facing 13; 
Columbus, O., 124-26; Dallas, 
Tex., 22, 126-27; Detroit, Mich., 
127-28; Elizabeth, N. J., 128; 



Evanston, 111., 128-29; Houston, 
Tex., 23; Kansas City, Mo., 129- 
31; Knoxville, Tenn., 131; Louis- 
ville, Ky., 131 ; Minneapolis, Minn., 
132; Nashville, Tenn., 22; New 
Orleans, La., 18-22; New York, 
N. Y., 132-33; Newark, N. J., 68; 
Philadelphia, Pa., 133-35; Pitts- 
burgh, Pa., 135-37; Richmond, 
Va., 137-39; Troy, N. Y., 139-40; 
Truxton, Va., 111-13; Washington, 
D. C., 140; Washington, D. C, 
inferior conditions in (illus.), 
facing 26 and 140; Worcester, 
Mass., 140-41 ; as phase of city 
growth, 4-5; examples of better 
standards (illus.), facing 12; eco- 
nomic factors in, 52-78; extracts 
from rural surveys, 141-42; ex- 
tracts from urban surveys, 119- 
41 ; further projects for study, 
116-18; in alleys (illus.), facing 
26; in cities, 8-27, 119-41; in in- 
dustrial cities, 9, 120; industrial, 
110-11; methods of improving, 74- 
78; new, 72; northern cities, 8-17, 
120 ; problems of migrants, 133-35 ; 
projects, 105-13, 237-48; physical 
aspects, 4-34; physical aspects, 
summary, 26-34; reasons for 
special problem, 1-3; recommenda- 
tions of Committee on, 114-15; 
rural, 27-33 ; rural, in the South 
(illus.), facing 27; rural, sug- 
gested study, 118; rural, trends in 
South, 30-33; rural, types, 27-30; 
sectional factors, 8-25 ; shortage, 
9, 12-13, 122, 124, 127, 128, 134, 
135; social factors in, 52-78, 143- 
98 ; South, summary of physical 
aspects, 33-34; studies suggested, 
116-18; types in South, 33-34; 
urban, summary of physical as- 
pects, 26-27 ; and mortality, 57-58 ; 
and the community, 35-51. See 
also Segregation 

Housing commission, establishment 
recommended: municipal, 114; na- 
tional, 114; state, 114 

Housing projects for Negroes: 105- 
13, 237-48; Atlanta, Ga., 237; Bal- 
timore, Md., 237-39; Chicago, 
239-42; New York, N. Y., 245-48; 
Cincinnati Model Homes Com- 
pany, 242-45 ; new, recommenda- 
tion for, 114; suggested study of 
operation, 118 

Houston, Tex., 18, 23, 98-99 

Hubert, Giles A., 27 

Hughes, Elizabeth A., 10, 12, 14m, 
63fn, 72fn, 84, 124fn 

Ihlder, John, 73, 74 

Illinois Department of Labor, 
Bureau of Labor Statistics, 164fn, 

Income : Chicago, economic levels 
among Negroes, 156-72; New 
York, N. Y., and rental (table), 
64; Newark, N. J., source of, 
other than earnings of members 
of family for 140 families (table), 
69; Pittsburgh, and rental, Hill 
District (table), 62; parental, and 
delinquency, 170-71 ; and rent, re- 
lation between, 61-66. See also 
Earnings ; Wages 

Income level of various occupational 
types in Chicago: Negro females, 
158-63; Negro males, 163-70 

Indianapolis, Ind., 36 

Industrial cities, Negro housing in, 
9, 120 

Industrial housing for Negroes, 

Institute for Juvenile Research, 
146fn, 183fn 

Intimidation, use of, in segregation, 
46-47, 210 

Ivy, Sereno S., 41 

Jackson, Miss., 252 

Jackson v. State, 222fn 

Jayne, Ira W., 214, 215 

Jeanes (Anna T., Foundation) Su- 
pervisors, 252 

Jefferson County, Ark., 250, 251 

Johnson, Charles S., 5fn, 14m, 28fn, 
122fn, 205fn 

Jones, William Henry, 25fn, 48, 58, 
79, 85fn, 140fn 

Julius Rosenwald Fund, 142fn 

Juvenile delinquency as related to 
housing in Chicago, 143-98. See 
also Delinquency in Chicago 

Kansas City, Mo., 47, 118, 129-31 

Kennedy, Louise Venable, 9fn, llfn, 
120fn, 204fn, 231fn 

Kingsport, Tenn., 28 

Kitchen in a modern apartment 
house for Negroes (illus.), fac- 
ing 107 

Kitchenette apartments : for whites 
and Negroes, comparison of simi- 
lar, 258-59; high rents for 
Negroes, 180 ; in Chicago, 179-81 ; 
moral hazards in, 180-81 ; recom- 



mendation of committee concern- 
ing, 259 ; sanitation problems, 
179-80; study recommended, 115 

Knight, Charles Louis, 24, 85fn, 
138fn, 234 

Knoxville, Tenn., 24, 131 

Land: cultivated, decrease in South, 
141 ; tenure among Negro farmers 
in Southeast, 141 ; values, relation 
to Negro invasion, 117 

Lane, Winthrop D., 16fn 

Lee County, Ark., 250, 252 

Legislation: housing, recommended, 
114; residential segregation, re- 
moval suggested, 115; segrega- 
tion, types, 37-42 

Lexington, Ky., 96 

Little Rock, Ark.: 108, 256; living 
room in a Better Homes in Amer- 
ica Negro demonstration house 
(illus.), facing 256 

Living standards of Negroes, 58-69 

Loans on Negro property, 94-102 

Lodgers: necessary to meet high 
rents, 69 ; potential evils involved 
in taking, 72 

Longe, George, 19fn 

Los Angeles, Calif., 37, 118 

Louisville, Ky., 18, 24, 36, 37, 39, 
42, 43, 44, 47, 58, 101, 131, 199, 
201, 205, 211, 214, 215, 221 

Low-income groups: housing, pos- 
sible need for government aid in, 
115; housing provision for, recom- 
mended, 115 

Lynchburg, Va., 24fn, 85fn, 138fn 

Madisonville, Ky., 36 

Magnusson, Leifur, 110 

Mark, Mary Louise, llfn, 84fn, 94fn, 

Martin, Asa E., 131fn 

Matney, W. C, 85fn 

McCracken, Fred D., lllfn 

McDowell, Mary E., 72 

McKenzie, R. D., 4fn 

Memphis, Tenn.: 47, 80, 82, 121; 
comparison of home ownership, 
1910-1920 (table), 80 

Michigan Boulevard Garden Apart- 
ments: 105, 107, 239-42; (illus.), 
facing 106 

Middletown, O., Ill 

Migrants, Negro, housing problems 
of, 133-35 

Migration, Negro, effect on segrega- 
tion, 119, 122 

Miller, Kelly, 206fn, 214, 215, 216, 

Milton, L. D., 93fn, 95fn 

Minneapolis, Minn., 12, 132 

Minneapolis Urban League, 12fn, 

Mizpah, N. J., 84 

Mooresville, N. C., 36 

Mortality and Negro housing, 57-58 

Mortgage certificates for home fi- 
nancing among Negroes, possible 
use of, 101-2 

Mortgages on Negro property, 93- 
102. See also Home financing 

Moses, Earl R., 52fn, 143fn, 154fn 

Moss, R. Maurice, 141m 

Municipal housing commissions, 
establishment recommended, 114 

Municipality, responsibility in im- 
proving housing conditions, 75 

Nail, John E., 98, 101, 215, 232 

Napier, J. C., 96m 

Nashville, Tenn., 18, 22, 89-91, 96fn, 

National Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Colored People, 37, 
42fn, 210, 212, 214 

National Commission on Law Ob- 
servance and Enforcement, 52 

National housing commission, rec- 
ommendation for, 114 

National Negro Insurance Associa- 
tion, 102 

National Urban League, lOfn, 12fn, 
13, 23, 25fn, 30, 52, 62fn, 67fn, 
84fn, 122fn, 128fn, 137fn, 140fn, 
141fn, 231fn, 233fn 

Nearing, Scott, lOfn, 120fn 

Negro Civic Welfare Association, 

Negro housing. See Housing, Negro 

"Negro Year Book," 29, 79 

Negroes arrested in Chicago, per- 
centage of, compared with whites 
(table), 152 

Neighborhoods and delinquency, 52- 

New Jersey Conference of Social 
Work, 67, 84fn 

New Orleans, La., 18-22, 36, 37, 42, 
43, 86, 100, 102, 116fn, 165fn 

New York, N. Y. : 3, 5, 6, 10, 11, 14, 
15, 41, 58, 64, 80, 82, 101, 107, 117, 
118, 121, 199, 203, 209, 211, 215, 
216, 220 ; income and rental in 
(table), 64; Mayor's Committee 
on Rent Profiteering, 16; Negro 



home ownership in, 232-33 ; Negro 
housing in, 132-33 ; Negro housing 
projects, 245-48 

New York Commission on Hous- 
ing and Regional Planning, 132, 

New York Tenement House De- 
partment, 133 

New York Urban League, lOfn, 
12fn, 14fn, 66fn, 133fn 

Newark, N. J. : 67, 107 ; composition 
of families (table), 67; housing 
conditions, 68 ; source of income 
other than earnings of family 
members (table), 69; study of 200 
Negro families in, 67-69; total 
weekly earnings, 200 heads of 
families, compared with rents 
(table), 70 

Newcomb, Charles W., 173fn 

Newman, Bernard J., 12, 135fn 

Norfolk, Va. : 36 ; segregation 
ordinance, 38 

Northern cities, Negro housing in, 

Nursery, Paul Laurence Dunbar 
Apartments, New York, N. Y. 
(illus.), facing 158 

Occupancy, Negro: relation to 
property values, 44, 48, 51, 92, 117, 
204 ; rental increases following, 
New York (table), 15 

Occupations, income level of Chicago 
Negroes in various, 158-70 

Octavia Hill Association, 109-10 

O'Fallon, Berenice, 116 

Ohio State University, llfn, 84fn, 
94fn, 126fn 

"Opportunity," 201fn 

Otis, E. C., 157 

O'Toole, Simon v., 108fn 

Overcrowding among Negro fami- 
lies, 10-11 

Panken, Judge, 16 

Park, Robert E., 4fn, 116, 205 

Pemiscot County, Mo., 252 

Penn Normal and Industrial School, 
74, 253 

Pennsylvania, Negro home owner- 
ship in, 234-35 

Pennsylvania Department of Wel- 
fare, 85fn, 234 

People's Building and Loan Asso- 
ciation among Negroes, 101 

Perkins, A. E., 43fn 

Perkins, E. A., 21fn 

Perry, Heman E., 237 

Phelps-Stokes Fellowship, 24fn, 85fn, 

Philadelphia, Pa., 3, 5, 11, 41, 85, 
96, 108, 109, 120, 133-35, 199, 211, 
213, 235 

Philadelphia Housing Association, 
12, 134 

Phyllis Wheatley Center, 74 

Physical aspects of Negro housing: 
4-34; summary, 26-34 

Pittsburgh, Pa., 5, 46, 62, 85, 110, 

Pittsburgh General Committee on 
the Hill Survey, 62fn 

Pittsburgh Housing Association, 73, 

Pittsburgh Urban League, 110 

Placements of Negro female work- 
ers made by Chicago Urban 
League (table), 164 

Planting, attractive, shown in Bet- 
ter Homes in America Negro 
demonstration house, Greenville, 
S. C. (illus.), facing 251 

Poe, Clarence, 39, 224, 230fn 

Pope, Oscar, 99fn 

Population : density among Negroes, 
11; density in Negro settlements, 
suggested study, 117-18; Negro, 
comparative study of movements 
suggested, 116; Negro, increase in 
cities, 2-3; Negro, increase in the 
North, 8-9 ; Negro, increase in the 
United States, 2 ; Negro rural, 27 ; 
and home ownership in Florida 
counties (table), 31 

Portsmouth, Va., 37, 111, 112, 113 

Positions for Negroes, efforts to in- 
crease number, 171-72 

"Progressive Farmer, The," 39, 224 

Property : deterioration factors, 48- 
51 ; values, effect of Negro resi- 
dence on, 44, 48-51, 92, 117, 204; 
values, study suggested, 118. See 
also Real Estate 

Prudential Life Insurance Company, 

Pulaski County, Ark., 257 

Race segregation. See Segregation 

Ragland, John M., 24fn, 131fn 

Real estate : city, value of, owned by 

Negroes, 1923 and 1928, Ga., 

N. C, and Va. (table), 83; Negro, 

elements of risk in financing, 92- 

93 ; Negro, holdings in New York, 

216; Negro mortgages on, 93-102; 

values, effect of Negro residence 

on, 44, 48-51, 92, 117, 204 



Recommendations of Committee on 
Negro Housing, 114-15, 259 

Reconditioning: as method of im- 
proving Negro housing, 76; ex- 
terior (illus.), facing 74; interior 
(illus.), facing 250; recommenda- 
tion for, 114 

Reid, Ira De A., lOfn, 12, 14fn, 15, 
62fn, 63, 66fn, 67fn, 69fn, 84fn, 
122fn, 128fn, 133fn, 137fn, 140fn, 
231fn, 233fn 

Rent : Chicago, 174-78 ; Chicago, for 
low-grade houses, 174; Chicago, 
levels among Negroes, 172-94; 
Chicago, paid by families of de- 
linquents, 76-78, 174-78, 185-86, 
187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194; Chi- 
cago, scale for different areas, 
174-78; Chicago, and delinquency, 
relation between, 181-83, 197-98; 
Chicago, and dependent families, 
181; Elizabeth, N. J., relation to 
family income, 210 Negro families 
(table), 66; New York, N. Y., 
relation to income (table), 64; 
Newark, N. J., 68; Newark, N. J., 
weekly, compared with total 
weekly earnings, 200 heads of 
families (table), 70; comparison 
ofj paid by whites and Negroes 
for similar apartments, 14; ex- 
orbitant, for Negroes, 14, 15-17, 
58-59, 66, 71, 127, 133, 134-35, 259; 
factors underlying variations in, 
174; for Negroes, Cincinnati 
Model Homes Company houses, 
106; high, for Negroes, reasons 
for, 58-59, 194; high, relation to 
delinquency, 181-83, 197-98; high, 
social implications of, 69-71 ; 
Negro neighborhoods, suggested 
study, 118; per cent of earnings of 
chief wage earner spent for 
(table), 61; per cent of family 
fund spent for (table), 62; rela- 
tion to earnings (table), 65; re- 
lation to wages in 179 Negro fami- 
lies, 63 ; and income, relation be- 
tween, 61-66 

Rentals : New York, increases follow- 
ing Negro occupancy (table), 15; 
New York, and income (table), 
64 ; Pittsburgh, and income, Hill 
District (table), 62; Truxton, Va., 
Negroes, 113; comparison for 
Negroes and whites, 14-17; Mich- 
igan Boulevard Garden Apart- 
ments, 106 ; Negroes in North, 

Renters, Negro, number of, 79 

Repair in Negro houses, state of, 

Research recommended : by Commit- 
tee on Negro Housing, 116-18; 
for municipal housing commission, 
114; for proposed national hous- 
ing commission, 114; for state 
housing commission, 114 

Residence areas : general character- 
istics of inherited, 5-6 ; Negro, evo- 
lution of, 120-22; Negro, in Chi- 
cago, 183-95 

Reuter, Edward B., 201fn 

Reynolds Tobacco Company, 111 

Richmond, Va. : 7, 18, 23-24, 36, 37, 
85, 121, 137-39, 203; home owner- 
ship in, 233-34; segregation ordi- 
nance, excerpt from, 38 

Richmond Council of Social Agen- 
cies, 24, 73, 138fn, 234fn 

"Richmond News-Leader," 23fn, 73, 

Roanoke, Va., 37 

Robinson, J. W., 85fn 

Robinson, H. N., 158fn, 165fn, 176fn 

Rockefeller, John D., Jr., 82, 107, 

239, 245, 246 

Rosenwald, Julius, 105, 106, 107, 239, 

240, 241 

Rural: Negroes, demonstration in 
methods of home buying recom- 
mended for, 115; Negroes, land 
tenure in Southeast, 141 ; Negroes, 
suggested formation of coopera- 
tive associations by, to promote 
home ownership, 115; segregation, 
224-30 ; social work to improve 
housing, development of, recom- 
mended, 115 

Rural housing : among Negroes, 27- 
33, 141-42; Negro, financing diffi- 
culties in, 32-33; Negro, in the 
South (illus.), facing 27; Negro, 
suggested study, 118; suggested 
cooperation of educational and 
welfare agencies to promote, 115; 
Negro, trends in South, 30-33 

St. Francis County, Ark., 250, 252 
St. Helena Island, S. C, 28, 74, 253 
St. Louis, Mo., 14, 36, 116, 117, 201, 

Sanitation in Negro housing, 19-22, 

23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 30, 32, 33-34, 

126, 128, 129-30, 131, 132, 135, 

136-37, 138-40 
Savannah, Ga., 121 
Sazon, Mrs. W. O., 21fn, lOOfn 



Schmidlapp, Jacob G., 105 

Sectional factors in Negro housing, 

Segregation : 5, 35-47, 199-230 ; argu- 
ments against, 45-46 ; arguments 
for, 44-45; bad effects of, 200-1; 
basic problems of, 216-17; cause 
of delinquency, 145-46; causes, 
206-10; covenants, 35-37; cove- 
nants, race friction as result of, 
42-43 ; economic dangers, 43-44 ; 
effect of Negro migration on, 119, 
122; factors in, 204-5; legal de- 
cisions against, 210, 211-12, 214- 
15 ; legislation, removal recom- 
mended, 115; Negro protests 
against, 214-17; ordinances, 35-40, 
201, 211-12; patterns, 6-7, 37-40, 
203; reasons for objections to, 208- 
9 ; rural, 224-30 ; rural, evil effects 
of proposed, 224-27 ; social effects 
of formal efforts at, 42-44 ; source 
of Negro housing difficulties, 35, 
203-4 ; violence in enforcing, 46-47, 
210 ; zoning, attempted use in, 

Seligmann, Herbert J., 214fn, 217fn 

Shaw, Clifford R., 145, 146fn, 154fn, 
183fn, 184fn 

Simmons-Whittington Bill, 31 

Simon v. O'Toole, 108fn 

Sites, new, acquisition of, 48 

Smith, T. V., 53fn 

Social factors in Negro housing: 
52-78; Chicago, 143-98; findings 
and tentative conclusions, 195-98 ; 
general observations, 71-78; im- 
plications of high rents and low 
wages, 69-71 ; relation of, to resi- 
dence in transition areas, suggested 
study, 118 

Social work, rural, development of, 
to improve housing, recommended, 

South: economic problems of Negro 
farmers in, 141-42; Negro hous- 
ing in, 17-25, 33-34 

Southern cities, home ownership in, 

Springfield, 111., 118 

Standard of living for Negroes: 58- 
69; suggested study of, 118 

Standard Realty Company, 101 

Standards, minimum, establishment 
of, to improve Negro housing, 77 

State housing commission, recom- 
mendation for establishment of, 

Steiner, Jesse F., 116 
Stephenson, Gilbert T., 37, 227, 228 
Storrow, Helen (Mrs. James J.), 113 
Summers, Mrs. Lillian, 181fn 
Sweet, Ossian, 210, 214 

Tallahassee, Fla., 30 

Tenants : minimum housing stand- 
ards for, recommended, 115; 
Negro, rental delinquency of, com- 
pared with whites, 244 

Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad 
Company, 111 

Tenon, Miss, 179 

Thayer, A. C, 165fn 

Thomas, Jesse O., 23 

Topeka, Kan., 74, 118 

Torrey, Mrs. Minnie E., 41 

Torrey v. Wolfes, 41 

Transition areas, relation of de- 
linquency to, suggested study, 118 

"Trenton Times, The," 42 

Troy, N. Y., 139-40 

Truxton, Va., 111-13 

Tulsa, Okla., 25 

Union, N. J., 47 

United Neighborhood Houses, New 

York, N. Y., 15, 64fn 
United States Bureau of the Census, 

United States Bureau of Labor 

Statistics, 110 
United States Children's Bureau, 27, 


United States Department of Agri- 
culture, Extension Service, work 

of county agents, 74-75 
United States Department of Labor, 

27, 112, 113 

United States Department of Com- 
merce, 4fn, 220 
United States Housing Corporation, 

112, 113 
University of Chicago, 145fn, 173fn, 

191fn, 205, 240 
University of Pittsburgh, 62fn, 

136fn, 137fn 
University of Virginia, 24fn, 85fn, 

Urban surveys of Negro housing, 

26-27, 119-41 
Urbanization, problems involved in, 


Value of houses owned by Negroes, 

Detroit (table), 232 
Values, property, relation of Negro 



residence to: 44, 48-51, 92, 117, 

204; study suggested, 118 
Vice resorts, proximity to Negro 

districts, suggested study, 118 
Violence, use of, in segregation, 46- 

47, 210 

Wage earner: percentage of earn- 
ings of, spent for rent (table), 61 ; 
relation of wage to rent in 179 
Negro families, 63 

Wage earners, earnings classified by 
race (table), 60 

Wages : Chicago Negroes, 170 ; Chi- 
cago, Negro females, 158-63; 
Chicago, Negro males, 163-70; 
Chicago, Negro males, average 
weekly, and range of, for specific 
occupational classifications (table), 
169; Newark Negroes, 68; New- 
ark, total weekly, 200 heads of 
families, compared with weekly 
rents (table), 70; discrimination 
against Negroes in, 158, 162-63, 
163-65, 166-67, 168, 169, 171; low, 
social implications of, 69-71 ; re- 
lation to rent in 179 Negro fami- 
lies, 63 

Walker, T. C, 29 

Warley, Buchanan v., 39fn, 221 

Warren County, Miss., 256 

Washington, Booker T., 45, 229 

Washington, D. C. : 18, 25, 41, 43, 
58, 85, 140, 199, 201, 209, 212, 213, 
215; Goat Alley (illus.), facing 
26; home ownership in, 235-36; 
Logan's Court (illus.), facing 26; 
neglected housing conditions 
(illus.), facing 140 

Washington, Forrester B., 85fn, 

Weber, Gustavus A., 139 

Wehle, Louis B., 44 

Wesley, Carter, 99fn 

West Virginia Bureau of Negro 
Welfare and Statistics, 85fn, 123fn 

White, L. P., 53fn 

White Plains, N. Y., 41 

Whittington-Simmons Bill, 31 

Williams, Fannie B., 145fn 

Williams, Airs. Florence C., 30 

Wilmington, Del., 108 

Wilson-Edwards, Mrs. Martha, 
157fn, 159fn, 160fn, 164fn 

Winston-Salem, N. C, 36, 38, 111 

Wirth, Louis, 4fn 

Wolfes, Torrey v,, 41 

Woodbury, Robert M., 57fn 

Woofter, T. J., Jr., 4fn, 6, 8, 11, 
14fn, 26fn, 28, 53fn, 58, 79, 80fn, 
93fn, 97fn, 103fn, 108, 117, 120fn, 
142fn, 203fn, 231 

Worcester, Mass., 140-41 

Work, Monroe N., 29fn, 42fn, 47fn, 

Workers in Chicago, Negro : fe- 
male, income level, 158-63, 170; 
female, placements made by Chi- 
cago Urban League (table), 164; 
male, income level, 163-69. See 
also Wages 

Youngstown Land Company, 111 
Youngstown Sheet and Tube Com- 
pany, 111 

Zones: in city growth, 4-5; Negro 
residence, suggested study, 116- 
17; Negro settlement, in Chicago, 
183-95 ; residential, in city develop- 
ment, 202-3 

Zoning: advantages, 218; as affect- 
ing Negro housing, 217-23 ; at- 
tempts at race segregation through, 
221-23; possible dangers of, 219- 
20 ; to improve Negro housing 
conditions, need for, 34 

"Zoning Primer, A," 4fn, 220